By Samson Yaki
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Professor Fatima Waziri- Azi as Director General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
In a press statement from the State House signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, said the appointment was to meet the demand of the urgent need to intensify on the existing capacity in the NAPTIP in order to achieve its Key Result Areas as identified.
The statement quoted the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, saying that the recommendation of Professor Waziri-Azi was based on her “pedigree, vast experience and proven track record to drive the agency forward and consolidate on what has been achieved so far.”
A former Head of Department of Public Law at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Waziri-Azi is a Women’s Right advocate, a campaigner against domestic and sexual based violence and an expert in Rule of Law.
Before her appointment, she was a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Rule of Law, Office of the Vice President (Special Assignment), providing amongst others, advisories to the Vice President on interventions in the area of anti-corruption, criminal justice sector reform and police reform with a view to strengthening the rule of law through enhanced accountability, transparency and fairness of the justice system.
She also provided strategic support for the Vice President’s engagement with Ministries, Department and Agencies as well as State Governments and Law Enforcement Agencies and Support and collaborate with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, Comptroller General of Nigeria Correctional Services and other stakeholders on the reform efforts of the government.
Between 2016 and 2018, she was a Research Officer Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACAC) (Special Assignment) Federal Secretariat, Abuja Providing programmatic support for the successful coordination and monitoring of various initiatives and implementation of the Nigerian Presidential Advisory Committee’s mandate and Drafting of policy documents and advisories for implementation among others.
At Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Abuja, Waziri-Azi became an Associate Professor of Law in 2012 and
Head of Department, Public Law from Nov 2012 to Feb 2016 and Coordinator, NIALS’s Corporate Social Responsibility, coordinated a visit to the internally displaced persons camp in karma Jiji, Airport Road, FCT- Abuja in 2015.
She was also a Member, Academic Committee (Nov 2012 – March 2016); Member, Academic Essay Competition Committee (2015-2016); Chairperson, NIALS-CLE Online Committee (2015 – 2016); Member, Steering Committee on Drafting Rules for the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and Coordinated by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies with the support of MacArthur Foundation (October 2018 – April 2019).
She was a Consultant, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC): I participated in the drafting of the Nigeria Training Modules on Human Rights and Criminal Justice Responses to Terrorism, an initiative funded by the European Union. I co-drafted module II, on “Prohibition of Torture & Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Right to Remain Silent” in 2015.
As a consultant with Barinu Institute for Economic Development, Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania, Fatima Waziri- Azi undertook a variety of projects related to economic development, good governance, corruption and poverty elevation in Sub Sahara Africa.
As a Legal Fellow with Transparency International USA, Washington D.C, the great scholar was consumed by variety of projects directly related to the chapter’s anti-corruption agenda, including researching current legislation related to industry transparency and disclosure requirements, compiling best practices on compliance issues such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Way back in 2008 Waziri- Azi was a Legal Associate, New York City, Administration of Children Services, Division of Legal Services processing requests for ACS information under the Freedom of Information Law via the New York City database system.
In 2006, Fatima was the Attorney/Senior Program Officer (Women’s Right, Electoral Issues and Justice Sector Reform Desk), The Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) / Olisa Agbakoba Legal Apapa – Lagos, Nigeria, carrying out among others, research and general understudy of Nigeria’s gender issues and other related developmental issues as it affects women, with a view to producing a working paper for reforms.
Between 2019 and 2021 she consulted for High-Level Advocacy for the European Union Funded Rule of Law Anti-Corruption Programme Implemented by the British Council to facilitate the delivery of specific programme outputs that require the support and buy-in of high-level stakeholders across 3 components of the programme.
She was at one time the Editor–in–Chief, India Universal Multidisciplinary Research Institute Journal of International Human Rights Law.
Fatima Waziri- Azi has in her name different Professional Journal Articles, Chapter Contributions and Books such as Strengthening Anti-Corruption Agencies and Laws in the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria. (2021), Gender Inequality: A Review of Fulfillment of Nigeria’s Commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995-2020). (2021) and Leveraging Legal Technology to Enhance People Centered Access to Justice in Nigeria. Nile University Law Journal, Volume 2, Number 1, pg 194-210, ISSN 2659-0255 (2020) among others.
She is a member of different Professional bodies such as Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Associate member Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Association of Women in Development (AWID), Women in International Security (WIIS), and International Scrabble Club (ISC).