Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Human Trafficking: NAPTIP Vows Stiffer Penalties

The Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, has warned perpetrators of human trafficking in the year 2020, saying they should be ready to “smell hell’’.

She gave the warning in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday, following the recent rescue of Omolola Ajayi, the Nigerian woman suspected to have been trafficked to Lebanon.

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According to information from the Office of Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Omolola is now in the hands of the Nigerian ambassador in Beirut expected back home soon.

Ajayi had cried out for help in a video which had gone viral, claiming that she was sold into slavery in Lebanon.

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The matter had since been transferred to NAPTIP, the agency responsible for handling human trafficking cases.

The NAPTIP boss, who also warned foreign nationals and other professionals in Nigeria who were aiding trafficking in the name of recruitment abroad, stressed that all those involved should desist from the act.

According to her, the role of those aiding the nefarious activities is direct sabotage to the efforts of the Federal Government toward stopping the menace.

She said, “the conduct of somebodies who play prominent roles in trafficking Nigerians to volatile countries for sexual exploitation is highly unpatriotic.”

She added that NAPTIP was planning to push for a national policy against recruitment of Nigerians to some of the noxious continents.

According to the director-general, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) command in Kwara  arrested three suspects in

connection with recruitment and trafficking of the rescued girl to Lebanon through inter-agency collaboration.

She explained that “upon receipt of the information, which went viral on social media platforms, the Intelligence and International Cooperation Unit (IICU) of NAPTIP swung into action.

“This was in collaboration with officers of the NSCDC in Kwara and arrested the suspects in Ilorin.

“Those arrested included a Lebanese and two Nigerians, with one as a lawyer.

“Upon further investigation, it was gathered that the victim, a 23-year-old single mother, was deceived to believe

that she was being recruited to Lebanon to teach the English language in one of the schools.

“She was deceived that she would earn huge amount of money monthly that would be enough to take care of her child that she left in Nigeria.”

She said “it is important at this point to say that NAPTIP exercised serious caution in the rescue process because of the traffickers, who were not ready to let her go, threatened to amputate her hands should anyone contact her.’’

According to the DG, as part of NAPTIP’s investigation, the Osogbo Zonal Command of the agency invited Ajayi’s parents and other close relations who may have played direct or indirect roles in her trafficking to Lebanon.

She commended the role played by NSCDC Kwara Command, noting that their action demonstrated effective inter-agency collaboration.

She said that NAPTIP would soon commence advocacy to all the coordinating bodies of professional associations and other regulatory bodies in the country, who usually do recruitment for jobs abroad,  with a view to engaging them in purposeful dialogue. (NAN)

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