The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has said its men from the Lagos Border Patrol Command, Seme, have intercepted a total of 189 young boys and girls who are suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
In statement issued on Tuesday and signed by the spokesperson for the service, Amos Okpu, an assistant comptroller of immigration, the organisation said the suspected victims were intercepted on January 22 and 24.
The statement credited the acting comptroller-general of the NIS, Isah Idris, who interacted with the suspected victims, as saying that they are between 15 and 20 years.
The statement read in part: “The acting Comptroller General said that the youths made up of 115 girls and 74 boys aged between 15 to 20 years were intercepted in batches on their way out of the country through the Seme Border Area. 92 of them were intercepted on 22nd January, 2022, while another 97 were picked up by our vigilant operatives on 24th January, 2022.
“The victims said they were on their way to Emerald University in Benin Republic to commence degree programmes. They stated that a faith-based organisation operating in Imo and Abia States offered them provisional admissions into the school.”
NIS said the suspected victims are from Abia, Kogi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Lagos and Imo States, among others.
The organisation said those intercepted could neither present any admission letters nor evidence of payment of school fees for their studies.
The statement added: “Moreover, only three of them hold valid travel documents.
“Investigation revealed that two persons namely Sunday Emmanuel Chinasa and Ms Rose Onum Uduma who were also arrested along with the victims coordinated the trip. The duo claimed to be students of ISCG University in Benin Republic and had been mandated to facilitate the movement of the youths to Benin Republic. Each of the victims claimed to have paid the sum of Fifty Thousand Naira Only (N50, 000:00) for the process.”
The acting comptroller-general advised the general public to beware of fraudsters, saying they now come up with various gimmicks to hoodwink unsuspecting victims.
He said the 189 “victims” have been handed over to the officials of the Lagos zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP).