Buhari finally replaces ‘unqualified’ director-general of NAPTIP

Buhari finally replaces 'unqualified' director-general of NAPTIP

After about five months in office, the director-general of the anti-trafficking agency, NAPTIP, Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, has been removed and transferred to another agency.

Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim’s initial appointment as the boss of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) violated the law of the agency.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in December 2020 appointed Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim as the director-general of NAPTIP, in clear violation of 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.

“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 legislation stipulates.

However, the credentials of Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim do not match this requirement.

Before her appointment, Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim was a politician and businesswoman. She was a political appointee whose tenure ended with her former principal.

She was appointed as the substantive head of NAPTIP after her predecessor, Julie Okah-Donli, was axed months before the end of her four-year tenure. The latter too, this medium found, was not qualified as she was not in public service prior to her appointment.

When his attention was called to the illegality in Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim’s appointment, the president would not budge.

It, however, appears the president has finally come to terms with his violation of the law as presidential aide, Garba Shehu, announced on Thursday that Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim has been transferred.

She is now to head the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), another agency under the ministry of humanitarian affairs, replacing Basheer Mohammed.

Mr Muhammad has now swapped position with Mrs Sulaiman-Ibrahim to head NAPTIP, the president’s office said in a statement on Thursday.

“This is in order to realize and sustain (the) government’s abiding desire for effective and efficient service delivery in the two organisations,” Mr Shehu’s statement read.

Mr Muhammad, 54, a former Kano central senator from 2011 to 2015, was appointed the federal commissioner of NCFRMI in 2019, an office which by rank is senior to a director but is not in the core public service.

Established in July 2003 under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, NAPTIP was the brainchild of a private member bill sponsored by the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), a not-for-profit organisation founded by Titi Atiku, the wife of a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

It was established as the federal government’s response to tackle human trafficking in the country.

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