By Tordue Salem
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Tolu Akande-Sadipe, has disclosed that about 80,000 Nigerian victims of trafficking were currently held as sex slaves and in forced labour across the world.
According to her, the practice is rife in Lebanon, Mali and across the Middle East.
Akande-Sadipe, who blamed the Ministries of Foreign Affairs as well as Labour and Employment for the situation, said young Nigerian girls were subjected to modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation and organ harvesting, among others.
She also noted that the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the pretext of diplomacy, was working towards the release of a Lebanese trafficker apprehended by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, who was complicit in the trafficking of 16 girls to Lebanon.
Her words: “Records show that the Lebanese was complicit in the trafficking of 16 girls, 10 of whom have been repatriated back to Nigeria, while the others remain stranded in Lebanon.
“He is currently in custody in Ilorin, Kwara State, awaiting trial for trafficking, but it appears that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the guise of diplomacy, is working for the release of the said trafficker without any regard for our citizens’ losses, their repatriation back home and compensation.”
Besides, Sadipe lamented increasing cases of abuse and dehumanisation of Nigerians abroad, especially in nations with a long history of cordial relationship with Nigeria.
She also disclosed that there were some Nigerian students in Turkey, who wanted to return home but could not afford the cost of the flight, stressing that they were currently stuck in Turkey, experiencing untold hardship.