Human trafficking: Navy rescues 18 victims, 3 teenagers head to Libya unsupervised
Operatives of the Nigerian Navy (NN) at the weekend rescued 18 victims of human trafficking and arrested two suspected members of the syndicate.
The victims were rescued during an operation about 10pm on Saturday, at Rijiyar Lemu, Ungogo Local Government Area of Kano State, a statement by Director of Naval Information (DINFO), Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said .
According to him, the rescue followed a tip-off from an officer of the Navy’s Finance and Logistics College (NNFLC), Dawakin Tofa, whose sister was being trafficked through Kano enroute Libya and France.
He said: “Upon receipt of the information, the NNFLC internal security team swung into action. The team localised Rijiyar Lemu and Bachirawa areas where detailed reconnaissance led to the rescue of the victims who were housed in an uncompleted building.
“Two of the suspected traffickers were arrested while others are at large. The victims were kept in custody of the college where medication and other necessary attention were offered.
“Also, the Kano Zonal office of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) was informed. Consequently, the suspects and victims were handed over to NAPTIP for interrogation and further necessary action on Monday (yesterday).”
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Kebbi State has also handed over three teenagers to NAPTIP.
The teenagers – 15, 17 and 18 years – from Ondo State, were travelling alone and allegedly on their way to Libya when they were arrested by immigration personnel in Yauri Local Government Area.
State Comptroller Mrs. Rabi Bashir-Nuhu, who addressed reporters yesterday, said: “The girls were intercepted at the Yauri border patrol on February 15 as they were travelling from Ondo to Sokoto unaccompanied. The officers became suspicious as they are being trafficked to Libya. Some of them will be enslaved and mishandled.
“They said a pastor prayed for them and made them fast for seven days so that their journey will be successful. That means the pastor has a hand in their trafficking. They have the number of their contact in Sokoto, including the pastor’s contact.
“We have to apply Pact 10 and 11 of Immigration Act 2015, receive them and hand them over to NAPTIP,” she said.
One of the victims said she and her sister were orphans schooling at Baptist Higher School in Ondo State.
“Our pastor in Muranu Agba Church arranged our traveling to Libya and we have his contact and contacts of those that we will call as soon as we reach Sokoto. We are going to Libya to do work in order to earn a livelihood,” she said.
NAPTIP’s Head of Operation, Sadiq Atiku, said the agency would investigate the matter.
“We thank NIS for making our job easier and we will investigate thoroughly. We have arraigned some of the suspected traffickers who have connections with previous victims as handed over to us by NIS,” he said.