…Arrests Agents and Imam
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has intercepted 39 women suspected to be victims of human trafficking and illegal migration in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja.
The victims were intercepted in coordinated raids carried out on suspected locations.
Also arrested in connection with the planned trafficking of the victims were two recruiters from a popular Labour Recruitment Travel and Tour Company located at Jabi area of Abuja, and a Clergy man from the Mosque were the victims were hidden in preparation for the ill fated journey.
In a statement to LEADERSHIP yesterday, it said the development came barely few hours after the burial of the 26 girls who died in questionable circumstances in the Mediterranean Sea enroute Europe.
The latest interception was carried out by operatives of the Agency in a popular hotel located in Abuja and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja following a surveillance operation and intelligence gathering.
The women comprising of Muslims and Christians, married and singles were said to have been recruited by some travel Agents and were on their way to Saudi Arabia when they were nabbed.
They were intercepted in three batches, the batch comprising of 13 girls were rescued at a hotel in Zone 6, Wuse, Abuja. The second batch of 12 girls were taken from a Mosque located at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport while waiting for their recruiter while the last batch of 14 girls were picked up from the departure lounge of the airport while waiting for their Agent to perfect their travelling arrangement.
As peculiar to victims of illegal migration, none of the victims were with their travel documents as at the time they were intercepted as the document were said to be with their recruiters and Agents.
Meanwhile, operatives of NAPTIP are on the trail of other recruiters fingered in the aborted trip said to be in possession of travel documents of some of the victims just as the women are currently helping the Agency with useful information to aid their investigation.
Speaking on the development, Director – General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah – Donli, said the raid is part of the efforts put in place to halt the illegal migration and trafficking of Nigerians and its attendant tragedies.
The Director – General said, “The Agency is pained by the trafficking of our people by some unscrupulous persons under the disguise of getting them job outside the country.
The last of such being the 26 girls that died under unclear circumstances enroute Europe.
“NAPTIP has decided , in addition to aggressive massive sensitization embarked upon in some of the identified endemic states and communities, to strengthen it surveillance team and inter – Agency cooperation in some of the entry and exit points so that we count rescue these victims before they are trafficked out for various purposes.
“Within the last few days, we have had consultations with Officials of some of the Embassies in Nigeria with a view to streamlining the issuance of Visa and other documents to applicants whose mission is suspicious .
“Efforts are also ongoing to review the operational permits of some of the Labour Recruitment Companies as well as Travel and Tours Agents with a view to regulating their operations in such a way that it will not jeopardize the current effort by the Federal Government to fight human trafficking and illegal migration.
“Other members of these syndicates will be apprehended wherever they are hidden and would be made to face the wrath of the law” the NAPTIP boss said.