Say, unemployment chased them out of Nigeria
Regret agents deceived them and abandoned
By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
Young ladies from the northern part of the country who travelled to the United Arab Emirates ( UAE) in search of the proverbial greener pasture have cried out for help saying they were deceived by agents and had to resort to undesirable practices in order to feed.
Not satisfied with what life had offered them back home, the ladies lamented that they were tricked into believing life could be much better in the Middle East.
Today, they are not only stranded in a foreign land, but had to mortgage their chastity to feed. In tears, some of these ladies linked their current predicament to the high level of unemployment in Nigeria.
Although the authorities have always enlightened and sensitised the public on the dangers of human trafficking, many still fall victims of organized networks or individuals that lured Nigerians who are vulnerable, desperate or simply seeking a better life in a foreign land. At the end, it has always been a story of neglect, sexual exploitation or even death. Only a very few come back with a good story to tell.
In Mali for instance, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri-Azi, has said that over 20,000 Nigerian women and girls are currently stranded in the West African country.
Sadly, Fatima said many of these women were being exploited sexually and made to live under unimaginable conditions.
For Maryam who found herself in a Maiduguri camp when the Boko Haram crisis rendered many people homeless, she had no option but to follow a man who offered to give her a job, not knowing where the job was.
She said, “a few years ago, I gave birth to twins and I couldn’t afford to take care of them. I was hopeless and I suffered a lot after giving birth to them, so I started asking for help. I kept begging and begging until I got so tired of it.
“A man then offered me a job and I immediately took it, not knowing exactly where it was. I was smuggled into Saudi Arabia and worked there for two years as a domestic helper. I had to pay back the smuggler for taking me there. I grew accustomed to the situation but I was upset when it ended.
“Unfortunately, one day when I was coming back from work, I got caught and was deported back home. I want to go back because life there as an illegal immigrant was better than living as a refugee in Nigeria”.
However, some ladies from the North have found themselves in pitiable situation in Dubai, and were stranded after their Nigerian agents deceived them into believing that good jobs awaited them in the UAE which turned out to be untrue.
According to a BBC Hausa report, many of these women are in a serious dilemma explaining that they were cheated and deceived by the agents who had now abandoned them to their fate.
One of the ladies who said it was the promise that she was going to get a good job in Dubai that made her to leave her country of origin, said “the agent sent me here and I have spent days without knowing what to do”.
According to the lady, “in fact, I started to encounter problems right after landing at the Airport. The person who was supposed to receive me did not come and I had exhausted all the money I had for transportation”.
She explained that she was staying in a rented apartment and could not see her agent till date, who she had paid N500,000 out of the N1.5m she was charged.
According to her, “I gave him the money based on the agreement that if I got a job here, I would pay the balance. But now, there is no job and I don’t even have any money with me. As things stand now, if I can’t get a job, it is better for me to go back to my country with my integrity intact”.
She said she was full of regrets and often cried uncontrollably because of the situation she found herself in Dubai.
Another lady who also narrated her plight in the United Arab Emirates, said she had spent more than two weeks in Dubai but could not see her agent who is a woman.
“My agent is a woman and I paid her N1.5m in Kano to get me a job. My agent told me she would get me a teaching job in Saudi Arabia but they brought us to Dubai.
“When we got to the airport, we stayed for 26 hours without food, waiting for the person to receive us.
“We were initially put in an hotel but now we are in a house where living is so miserable. We have no food and they don’t help in Dubai.
“We went to school in our country but because there was no job, we came here in search of livelihood”.
In tears, she said “we came to a place where if you have nothing to do, you have to mortgage your body to eat”
The women languishing in Dubai alleged that it was the high unemployment in Nigeria that made them to travel out in search of what to do.