Story from Ankeli EMMANUEL, Sokoto
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), Sokoto Zonal Command said it has received 22 Nigerians from the Niger Republic who are victims of human trafficking.
Addressing journalists on the unfortunate development, Sokoto State Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Barr. Abubakar Bashiru hinted that the 22 victims were heading to Italy as their final destination.
According to Barr Bashiru, the 22 trafficked persons that are from Lagos, Edo, Delta, Ogun and Imo states include one male and 21 females all aged between 16 to 25.
“They were repatriated from the Niger Republic by the Nigeria Police. They were handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, Illela Border Command on 29th August 2021 and they were handed over to the NAPTIP Sokoto Zonal Command at the Illela Border, Sokoto State. Thru came from Lagos, Edo, Delta, Ogun and Imo States respectively.”
While stressing that the case is still under investigation after which they will be reunited with their families, Barr Bashiru however appealed to parents and children not to be deceived by the antics of traffickers, as according to him, no free money anywhere contrary to their deceptive claims.
One of the rescued victims, who spoke to newsmen said, somebody, called them and promised to get a good job for them outside Nigeria.
“He said, we should come to Sokoto and when we arrived, we all waited in one motor park closed to the central market. After that, others came. We were brought in batches. They took all of us to Illela and kept us in one room till in the night when they asked us to come out and climb our motorcycle. Three on each motorcycle.
“The motorcycles took us through the bush and later handed us over to another motorcycle which continued with us until we arrived at a place where we disembarked and led into one room again.
“While we were there, one of us felt uncomfortable with the arrangement and escaped to report to the Police that came and rescued us,” she narrated.
Recall that Sokoto State has for long become an easy passage for cartels of human traffickers who have their partners in crime stationed at the Illela border, Niger Republic, Agades, Morroco and Libya before crossing through the sea in a journey often described as “No Return Venture.”
Investigations by journalists revealed that the majority of these cartels often uses those that own beer parlours and other eateries to recruit unsuspecting victims for their nefarious customers.