By Evelyn Usman
Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Lagos State Command have uncovered a building in Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos, where young ladies were kept by a human trafficking syndicate, pending when they would leave for Mali and other parts of the globe for prostitution.
Arrested, was a suspected leader of the syndicate, Omowunmi Michael, 30, while four girls between ages 18 and 23, were rescued. They were: Aloaye Joy, 22, Victoria Oshioke, 18, Amaka Eze, 23, and Anuoluwapo Mustapha.
Vanguard gathered that the arrest of the suspected ring leader and subsequent rescue of the victims followed a disagreement between both parties on how much latter would be paid.
Michael was said to have demanded an upfront payment of N1 million each from the victims before they would be handed over to an agent in Cotonou, Benin Republic for onward movement to Mali.
But some of the girls were said to have paid up to that amount to the agent that linked them to Michael. In the ensuing argument, she, ( Michael) threatened to send the girls back to their base if she did not get the amount.
Two of the girls: Aloaye Joy and Victoria Oshioke, reportedly ran out of the building and flagged a truck driver to give them a ride to Benin. The curious driver was said to have engaged them in a discussion, during which they exposed the going-ons at Michael’s house.
A team of NSCDC closeby were alerted, consequent upon which all parties were arrested.
Parading the suspected ring leader at the NSCDC’s Command Headquarters, Alausa, Ikeja, the Commandant, Otiobhi Ehi Cyprian, said, the suspect was arrested for allegedly trying to traffic four ladies to Mali for prostitution, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at about 9.20am at number 13 Abuke Oku Street, Iyana Ipaja.
“Michael is alleged to have recruited the victims to travel to Mali for prostitution. Two of the victims, Victoria Oshioke and Aloaye Joy were transported from Benin, Edo State by one Favour who is currently on the run while Amaka Eze, who hails from Onitsha, Anambra State, was linked to the suspect by one Lekan” he stated.
One of the girls, Oshioke, disclosed that she was first trafficked to Mali by her boyfriend when she was 16 years. She said, “ My boyfriend sold me to an agent in Cotonou, for 500,000 CEFA. The agent there took me to Mali where I was forced to sleep with different men.
“I came back two years ago. Again, my boyfriend, Maxwell, called me on phone, he said I should come to Benin. I live in Auchi. When I got to Benin, accompanied by elder sister, he told me that he wanted me to go back to Mali. I refused. Around midnight, he threw us out of his apartment. Out of fear of being attacked, we agreed to go. So the next day which was Tuesday he put us in a bus going to Lagos, after calling his contact at Iyana-Ipaja. I am grateful to God for rescuing me from another round of torture”, she said.
The Commandant, therefore warned young ladies to be wary of people who come with promises of juicy employment outside the country. He also cautioned parents not to fall for such gimmicks.