Reps vow to end human trafficking as 29 trafficked Nigerians return

• No green pasture in Arab countries - Experts • To be quarantined for 2 weeks

No fewer than 29 Nigerian girls including Temitope Arowolo who were trafficked to Lebanon arrived in Nigeria via the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport on Saturday.

Out of the returnees, 24 airlifted at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja while the other 5 returnees traveled to Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos State.

The 24 Ladies were taken into custody of the National Agency for Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), among whom are pregnant girls and another crippled lady.

According to the statistics, Oyo State top the list of returnees with 9 Ladies followed by Ondo State with 3 Ladies and Delta State with 2 Ladies while others including Cross Rivers, have one each.

While addressing Legislative Correspondents, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe reiterated the resolve of the 9th House of Representatives towards ending the menace of human trafficking.

“It’s a day Nigeria should celebrate as a nation because of this human trafficking, the House of Representatives under the leadership of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, we are going to say no to human trafficking the same way
we are saying no to rape. Today, Temitope is now free.”

She also urged all Nigerians to ensure that their expectations are met while engaging with the agents.

Hon. Akande-Sadipe also called on all the State Governments whose citizens are part of the returnees to come to their aids by providing necessary support and empowerment for them.

Speaking with Legislative Correspondents, 31-year old Temitope Arowolo described her sojourn in Lebanon as hell, which she will never wish her enemies, just as she urged Nigerians to be content with the prevailing situation in the country.

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In her remarks, NAPTIP Director-General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli who reiterated the resolve of the agency to take over her well-being as from now, said: “We are going to rehabilitate her and empower, adding “she is currently traumatized.”

In line with the Presidential Task Force (PF) on Covid-19, Okah-Donli explained that Temitope Arowolo along with three others would be quarantined for the two weeks in an undisclosed isolation center.

In the bid to end the menace of human trafficking and their cronies operating within and outside the country, Okah-Donli assured Nigerians that: “NAPTIP will go after them.”

While noting that the allegations of theft and murder leveled against Temitope Arowolo were not true, the NAPTIP Director-General unveiled the agency’s plan to engage the lawyer involved in the case to ascertain the veracity of the allegations with the view to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to have been done.

Speaking earlier, Senior Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Diaspora matters, Engr. Seyi Makinde, Mrs. Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu applauded the support of the Lebanese community, IOM, and other non-governmental organisations who were instrumental to the unraveling of the plight of the trafficked Nigerians in Lebanon and other countries.

According to her, we have good and bad people in Nigeria and other countries, “the same issue that happened in Lebanon is happening in Nigeria. So I don’t want anybody to stigmatize any country. We have good dialogue with the Lebanese government and if not for their help today, we would not be able to receive these victims.

“We need to assistance of the press people to ensure that none of our citizens is used as slaves in any part of the world. Currently, we have more victims in other Arab countries, we have victims that we are going to bring back home and we are going to work with those governments to ensure that it is a success story.

“So anyone thinking abroad is filled with gold and wants to travel abroad for greener pasture out, have to do it the right way,” she urged.

Sarumi-Aliyu who reiterated the commitment of Oyo State government towards the safe return of all the trafficked persons assured that efforts are in top gear to put an end to human trafficking in the state.

She explained that the punishment as stipulated in the NAPTIP Act, 2015 will be applied to any offenders while efforts are ongoing to put legislative instruments in the State.

She warned that the State will no spare both the Agents involved in human trafficking but parents also who send their children to abroad for the
“There is a mother looking for her child in Oman, she spoke to her last two weeks ago, and the girl said I’m in prison, but I said Mama why did you send your child abroad, she said she’s a naughty girl and I wanted her to go and learn some lessons.

“I said now you’ve sent her to a faraway country, ‘ti oju yin o le de be’ (where your eyes cannot reach). Now you’ve come to look for help for us to find her in Oman where we don’t have a Mission to relate with.

“Once the air is open internationally, we will go and see if we have any of our citizens from Oyo State there, then we will bring them back,” she assured.

She vowed that Oyo State will put stiff measures in place to ensure that: “no job agency abroad can take anyone abroad until they are registered by us. We have to certify hem we have to verify that they are credible enough. If you know you want to run an agency and take people internationally, then you must be open and transparent in Oyo State will document you. Wherever you are sending Tunde Ajayi abroad, we will give you the person’s contact, we will call Tunde Ajayi and ask him are you in the country is the job the right job they old you or are you a victim basically?”

On his part, Adekola Damilola who spoke on behalf of Project Ferry, disclosed that the agency has so far brought back over 100 trafficked Nigerian girls from various countries, adding that efforts are being doubled to assist others to return back to the country.

“I will advise those that are home that the land is not green there we have terrible stories about parents keep pushing their children to go there and make money. It is not green over there. We have about 3 girls, 2 in Lebanon and 1 in Oman. They are pregnant and we are still doing all we can to make sure they come back. We also have an Agent in Lebanon whose job is to sell Nigerian girls.

“So please I want to use this medium to tell parents at home, the land is not green over there in all those Arab countries. When these Agents come to deceive you, run away from them. Those agents are being paid $2,000 for them to buy your daughters, and they will pay them a paltry $200 per month and they have bought you and call you ‘casala’ you must work, you are a slave.”

Tribune

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