Nigeria evacuates 41 trafficked girls from Mali, arrests six captors

FILE PHOTO: Trafficked girls

The Federal Government on Monday evacuated 41 Nigerian girls who were trafficked to Mali for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that six persons, alleged to be human traffickers, were also arrested and brought back to the country alongside their victims.

A Hercules C-130 military aircraft conveying the returnees landed at 7:45 p.m. at the Airforce wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

They were brought back by the Nigeria Air Force in collaboration with the Office of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

They were received at the Hajj Camp area of the airport by officers of the NAPTIP and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

Addressing journalists, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the Chief Of Defence Staff for facilitating the return of the victims to the country.

“We want to thank the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, for making the return of the girls possible, otherwise they would have still been there.

“The girls came back voluntarily. Some of these girls are between 15 and 17 years old who thought they were being taken to Europe for greener pastures but ended up with traumatic experiences in the hands of their traffickers and their madam.

“So they should not be ashamed of themselves because they are victims. We are going to rehabilitate them through skills acquisition programmes. I am therefore calling on non-governmental organisations to join us in this regard,” she said.

Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerian parents to watch their children carefully and ensure that they don’t succumb to peer pressure and other activities that could exposed them to traffickers.

She confirmed that six of the alleged traffickers, who were arrested and brought back to the country, would be handed over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.

According to her, the Buhari administration remains committed to the welfare of Nigerians all over the world, hence this intervention.

Also speaking, Joseph Famakinwa, Zonal Commander, NAPTIP, South-West Zone, said 512 victims were returned to the zone in 2016.

Mr. Famakinwa said Nigerians needed to go back to the basics of bringing up their children uprightly and discouraging the ‘get rich quick’ syndrome.

He said poverty was not solely responsible for the increase in the human trafficking, stressing that other factors such as negligence, peer pressure and greed were also responsible.

“Once the girls have been rescued, we take them to our shelter houses where they are received by trained counselors who assist them in overcoming their trauma.

“After counseling, for those who don’t want to go back to school, we give them a vocational training of their choice and also assist them to set up their businesses.

“We also meet with their families to let them know that being victims of human trafficking is not the end of the world and advised them on how to render support to the girls,” Mr. Famakinwa said.

He said NAPTIP would reveal the identities of the suspected traffickers in due course and ensure that they are brought to justice.

(NAN)

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

 

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: New Discovery! Click Here To See A Miracle Device That Can Cure DIABETES, BLOOD PRESSURE, STROKE, ARTHRITIS, PAINS, OBESITY And 50 Other CHRONIC DISEASES Without Drugs Or Herbs.. Click Here Now To See It


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.