(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 29, 2017 prostitutes stand walk on the street in Benin City, capital of Edo State, southern Nigeria. – On April 17 and 26, 2019 dozens of women were arrested in night clubs, strip-tease clubs, luxury hotels and in the streets of Abuja for prostitution, but many of them strongly deny it. The scandal revived the debate on women’s rights in the Nigerian society. (Photo by AFP)

We jumped at job offer of N200,000 monthly to say goodbye to poverty for us, our family’ lAs Ondo Amotekun arrests two members of syndicate

By Dayo Johnson

Akure—Two young ladies, Adeoye Olufunmilayo,17, and Sandra Adeyeye, 20, tricked into taking up jobs in Mali as sales representatives with a salary of N200,000 monthly but ended up being introduced to prostitution have narrated their ordeals.

Speaking in Akure, the state capital, after they were rescued by the Ondo State security outfit codenamed Amotekun, Oluwafumilayo Adeoye, a Senior Secondary School dropout said she did not inform her parents before embarking on the journey.

She said: “I am from Ikare-Akoko in Ondo State. Matthew Olupona told us that there is a lot of work in Mali. So, we agreed to go there to work. 

“Our parents didn’t know about it. There were three of us that went there, but I was the only one from Ikare-Akoko. The other two are from Owo.

“Before I went to Mali, I was learning tailoring. I could not continue my education because my parents are not financially buoyant.

“We got an offer to be sales representatives in Mali with a salary of N200,000 monthly. We jumped at the offer because we saw it as a huge opportunity to say goodbye to poverty and make life better for our family.

“I stopped in Senior Secondary School 3 before I decided to travel to Mali in a quest for a greener pasture. We left in January this year and came back on March 9. When we got to Mali, we realised that the woman we were asked to work for, asked us to start prostitution.

“We did not agree to go into prostitution because that was against the agreement that took us there. There were lots of Nigerians there who indulged in prostitution for a living.

“My friend and I planned to run away from the house. We met lots of Nigerians out there and we were lucky to see someone who took us in.

“The other woman told us that they will use our pants to perform rituals and that anywhere we escaped to, they would locate us. After many threats, luckily, we were able to escape back to Nigeria.

“We appreciate men of the Amotekun Corps for making sure we got back to Nigeria safely.

It wasn’t my intention to take them to Mali —Suspect

In an interview, the suspect, Olupona Matthew, who tricked the girls to Mali, said it was not his intention to take them to Mali.

Oluona, 27, who is a barber, said he met the woman who later introduced the ladies into prostitution in Lagos where he used to buy wares.

According to him, “There was a woman I met in Lagos, I used to buy underwears from Lagos to sell in Owo. We lodged in the same hotel, she told me that there was a job opportunity in Mali, that if I have younger sisters that can work in a hotel.

“She told me last year, I didn’t show any interest until in January this year when she sent me a message based on our last discussion, which was about helping her to get girls to Mail for a receptionist job in a hotel.

“Based on that, I told her that I have some ladies living in my street who are like my younger sisters. So, when I told them, they said they were interested. What the woman told me was that they will be working in a hotel and bar. And that was why I took them to Lagos.

“I did not do any findings because this is my first time. I have never done it before. If I had known they were going for a contrary mission, I wouldn’t have let them go because they are like my younger sisters and they respect me a lot.

“It was when they got there that they told me what they saw, so I asked them to start coming back.”

Our men acted on intelligence reports —Amotekun

The state commander of Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye, said his men acted on intelligence reports of the trafficking and swung into action.

Adeleye said the ladies were rescued and brought back  to Nigeria, adding that they have reunited with their families.

He said: “Amotekun got involved when our intelligence gathered information that there is a man in Owo recruiting people for prostitution.

“We searched and got him, he said he was working for somebody. Before we could get the person, he had already travelled with the children.

“We got the parents of the children through the suspect and the parents said they did not release their daughters to him.

“So we brought the parents of the two girls and the man that took them away and demanded they must be brought back to Nigeria.

“We tracked the woman, who took them to Mali and mounted pressure on her and she confessed to us, that the girls have escaped from her house.

“Based on intelligence gathering, we were able to locate the girls in Mali, sent money to the person they were staying with who, thereafter, sent them back home,” he stated.

Adeleye advised youths to shun the idea of looking for quick wealth through dubious means, but should exercise patience and say no to a lifestyle that could jeopardize their future.

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