By Rotimi Ajayi
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered immediate evacuation of no fewer than 100 Nigerians trafficked out of Nigeria who are now stranded in Mali.
A Presidency source revealed in Abuja, yesterday, that the Presidential order was communicated through the office of the National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi to the Nigerian Ambassador to Mali, Mr. Sonny Abang.
According to the source, following the directive of the President, the agency in charge of human trafficking was said to have contracted Air Nigeria which flies Lagos-Bamako route to carry out the evacuation this weekend.
The source added that most of those affected are girls ranging between 14 and 25 years, and that they had been stranded in various parts of Mali since early this year.
It was learnt that following the directive of the President on the trafficked Nigerians, a 14-man team was raised last Friday to visit Bamako and sort out their movement back to Nigeria.
The team, which held discussions with Malian authorities on the efforts of Nigeria at curbing the problem of human trafficking, was still at Bamako, yesterday, preparing for the repatriation of the girls.
The source disclosed that the decision by the President was informed by the consistent briefing of Ambassador Abang, who was said to have told the President that there was the need to help Nigerian image by evacuating the girls.
They would be flown into Abuja, weekend, aboard Air Nigeria flight.
The girls, said to be scattered around Mali, would be assembled by the Presidential anti-trafficking team members on their arrival in Bamako.
The source said: “The President feels so strongly about this as our ambassador to Mali had been harping on the importance of this issue since early this year.”