•We’ve lost count number of persons trafficked
By Ifeanyi Okolie
A Kano based human trafficking syndicate which specialized in trafficking women from Nigeria to Libya for prostitution, has been smashed by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team, IRT.
Vanguard gathered that a 28-year-old mother of two, Nofisat Mustapha, was also rescued by the IRT operatives, when they rounded up two members of the syndicate, in Kano state recently. It was learned further that the syndicate, has agents across the country, who were recruiting women, under the guise of getting them mouthwatering jobs in Libya.
Vanguard also learned that these women were not required to pay any money for their transportation, as they would be transported to Kano state by the syndicate’s agents for free and when they arrived Kano, members of the syndicate would fix them in a bus that would take them to Niger Republic, from where they would be taken to Libya by road.
Sources disclosed that the Kano based syndicate has an affiliation with a human trafficking cell in Niger Republic, which after receiving these women, would sell them off to prostitution rings in Libya, where they would be held captive and be made to work as prostitutes for two years in order to offset the bills spent in transporting them to Libya and their owners would make substantial profits from them.
It was gathered that operatives of the IRT, headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kayri, in February 2020, intercepted intelligence about the syndicate’s activities and arrested a commercial bus driver, Abudulahi Umaru, who plied the Abuja- Kano route, helping the syndicate transport victims from Abuja to Kano State.
His confessions were said to have aided the operatives in apprehending the ring leader, Abubakar Suleiman, in Kano state while Nofisat Mustapha, the syndicate’s last victim, who was led into believing that she was going to get a job in Libya was rescued when she arrived Kano State.
I earn N10,000 per person —Suleiman
In his confession, Abubakar Suleiman said; “I started human trafficking last year, I was introduced to the business by a Nigerien, known as Almusuru, who had relocated back to his country.
Almusuru and I were working together at Matara Motor Park Daura Road, Kano. After Almusuru left for Niger Republic, he would call me that people were coming to meet him in Niger and when they got to Kano, I should put them in a vehicle that would bring them to Niger republic.
I have sent over 100 people to Almusru and I earned N10,000 for each of them. I don’t know where the people came from, Almusuru was the person communicating with all the agents across Nigeria and my job was just to take them to Niger Republic and Almusuru would pay me my money.
I don’t even know if they would get to Libya safely or die in the desert. I knew it was a crime but I was doing it because I needed the money”, he stated
All I care about is money —Umaru
In his own confession, Abdulahi Umaru, a native of Kadawa area of Kano state said; “I was arrested because I was into human trafficking.
As a commercial bus driver plying the Abuja, Kano route, I worked for the human traffickers. I helped them ferry their victims from Abuja to Kano and would hand them over to the agent in Kano, who would take them to Niger Republic and from where they would go to Libya and become slaves.
I don’t care what they do in Libya, though I have heard in the news that there is modern day slavery in Libya and how Nigerians are being treated in that country.
All I care about is the money I am being paid. The trip from Abuja is N3000, but I charged N7000 for those who are being trafficked out of the country. I make N4000 profit and I have lost count of the number of people I have trafficked to Libya”.
How I was lured—Nofisat
When Vanguard interviewed the victim, Nofisat Mustapha, who is a native of Abeokuta Ogun State, she narrated how she was lured by the syndicate’s agent and how she was rescued by the police.
She said; “I am a secondary school dropout, my husband left me three years ago, when I was about having my second child. He heard that I was going to have the child through surgery and he had no money, so, he abandoned me in the hospital and ran away.
My mother footed the bills and I was discharged but I had no job and was forced to work at a building site in Ogun State. I worked to the point where I started feeling pains from the surgery and I had to stop, then I started cooking and selling noodles.
Last month, there was this lady living in my area who approached me and told me that she didn’t like the way I was suffering and she wanted me to quit and travel to Libya to get a good job where I would earn good money.
She said she would send me to Kano state , then the person in Kano would send me to Libya, I would work for one year and that the Kano man who sponsored the trip would take all my salary and after wards, I would start earning my money. I boarded a bus to Kano from Agege, Lagos and when I arrived Kano, the police were already waiting for me and I was arrested.
I didn’t know that the plan was to sell me off in Libya. I was only trying to go and look for money to take care of my children. I am not a prostitute and I have not done prostitution” she lamented.