The Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Police Command, Ikeja, has spoken on the allegation that one of its officers, Matthew Esan, was involved in human trafficking at the airport.
The spokesperson of the command, Joseph Alabi, absolved the inspector of the allegation while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
NAN recalls that Mr Esan was arrested at the airport by operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on June 9.
NAPTIP had alleged that the officer facilitated the trafficking of 10 Nigerian youth to Moscow, Russia.
Mr Alabi however said investigations by the command showed that the officer was erroneously arrested by overzealous NAPTIP operatives while carrying out his legitimate duties at the airport terminal.
“On June 9, 2018 at about 7.30 p.m., one Insp. Esan attached to Airport Police Command, Ikeja, while on duty at MMIA departure hall received one Henry who claimed he was sent to him.
“While trying to get acquainted with the said Henry, some men who were later discovered to be NAPTIP operatives descended on him, seized his phone and police Identity Card,” he said.
According to Mr Alabi, the officer was told that he was among a syndicate trafficking young Nigerians to Russia for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup.
The spokesperson said Mr Esan was later taken to the NAPTIP office alongside some other arrested persons and 10 rescued youths.
He said that following the intervention of the command, Mr Esan was released on Monday after the arrested persons confirmed that they did not know him.
“The command wishes to reassure Nigerians that we will continue to work with NAPTIP and other sister agencies towards tackling human trafficking and other criminal activities within the airport environment.
“We also want to assure passengers and other airport users that the command is committed to their safety and security at all times,” Mr Alabi said.