Nigeria: Buhari Violates NAPTIP Act in Appointment of Agency’s Head

NAPTIP is an agency founded in 2003 in to tackle human trafficking and similar human rights violations in Nigeria.

By appointing Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim as the new director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), President Muhammadu Buhari has flouted the law establishing the agency.

Section 8 (1) of the NAPTIP Act 2015 stipulates that the director-general of the agency must be appointed from the directorate cadre in the civil service or from an equivalent cadre in any of the nation’s law enforcement agencies.

But the credentials of Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim does not match this requirement.

“There shall be for the agency a Director-General who shall be from the Directorate cadre in the public service of the Federation or its equivalent in any law enforcement service and shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Minister,” the section reads.

Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim, a politician and businesswoman (dealing in Mary Kay products), does not, however, qualify for the position as she is neither of the directorate cadre in the public service nor does she holds any equivalent position in any of the country’s law enforcement agencies.

Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim saying until her appointment she was a special adviser on strategic communication to the minister of state for education.

She is therefore a political appointee, whose appointment ends with the expiration of the tenure of the current government.

Mr Shehu added that the new NAPTIP boss holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and two masters degrees in arts management and business administration respectively.

She hails from Nasarawa State in North-Central Nigeria. She was also a member of the Nasarawa State Economic Advisory Council.

There is, however, no records of her holding other public service positions which put her in the right stead to head NAPTIP as stipulated by the law.

The spokesman to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, Umar Gwandu, declined comment when contacted on the violation of NAPTIP Act by the President.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Halima Oyelade, also declined comment. The humanitarian affairs ministry directly oversees NAPTIP.

Meanwhile, Julie Okah-Donli, who Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim succeeded on Tuesday, was also not qualified for the top job she held for close to four years.

Her job profile showed that before her appointment to NAPTIP, she had only worked as a lawyer, a legal adviser of the Nigerian Capital Market Institute, an executive assistant to former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, and head of the Abuja branch and northern region for UBA Trustees.

In fact, she was in private legal practice when she was hired for the job, in clear violation of the NAPTIP Act.

The reason for Ms Okah-Donli’s sudden removal is unclear. She was appointed for a four-year tenure on April 13, 2017, in line with the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015. Her four-year tenure was to expire on April 13, 2021.

NAPTIP is a law enforcement agency founded in 2003 to tackle human trafficking and similar human rights violations in Nigeria.


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