Police In Niger Help To Rescue 5 Libya Bound Victims From Human Traffickers » IReporteronline Police In Niger Help To Rescue 5 Libya Bound Victims From Human Traffickers - IReporteronline
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Police In Niger Help To Rescue 5 Libya Bound Victims From Human Traffickers

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The Niger State Police Command has rescued five victims from being taken to Libya by human traffickers. Two suspects were arrested during the rescue operation while the police said they were on the trail of other members of the syndicate.

Parading the suspects on Wednesday, the Public Relations Officer of the Niger State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the suspects, Osaruwumen Ewodaru (49) Olaoluwa Adebanjo (43), were intercepted on the Abuja-Kaduna Road while they were on their way to Kano with the five female victims.

According to him, the rescued female victims, aged between 18 and 23 years, hail from Ondo, Edo, Delta and Ogun states.

Speaking to newsmen during the parade, Osaruwumen Ewodaru, who said it was not the first time he would be taking the route to Libya, said the victim he was going with had the permission of her parents to go with him.

Osaruwumen, who had forged a marriage certificate to claim that the victim was his wife, said he did so to avoid any form of suspicion.

Osaruwumen said: “This is not my first time going to Libya. I only returned from there not long ago.

“I usually pay N150,000 for the whole trip, but this time, I had to go along with someone because her mother asked her to follow me to Libya.

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“From Edo State, we took a vehicle to Abuja. From Abuja, we were supposed to take a vehicle to Kano where we would meet the people who would take us on the remaining journey, but we couldn’t make it.”

Olaoluwa Adebanjo, who admitted acting as the transporter, said he did not know that the victims were being transported to Libya.

Adebanjo said he was contacted by a friend in Kano to accept and assemble the victims at Ido park, Abuja for onward movement to Kano State, adding that he was being paid N1,500 for each person he helped transport to Kano.

He said that the people who contacted him to put the victims on a Kano-bound vehicle had claimed to be their parents. Upon arrival in Kano, he said, the victims would link up with another transporter who would facilitate their journey to Libya.

Adebanjo said: “I have been in this business since May this year and I have so far helped over 13 people to go to Kano. I do not know anything or what they do after they get to Kano.

“I did not know that they were going to be transported to Libya. If I knew, I would not involve myself in this.

“I did not know the girls before. Their parents always called me to help their children to get a bus that was going to Kano, and that was what I did.

“If they came late, I would keep them in my house and feed them till the next day when they would leave for Kano.”

One of the victims, who was with Osaruwumen, said she was told to follow him to Libya where she would find her way to Italy to meet her uncle who works and lives there.

She said: “Osaruwumen lives in my area. He is a bricklayer. When he told my mother he was travelling, my mother asked me to follow him to Libya, and that when I got to Libya, I would cross to Italy to meet my Uncle.

“My Uncle said that once I got to Italy, there would be work for me to take care of sheep and goats. That was why I travelled with him from Edo to Abuja.

“In Abuja, we were told that we were going to Kano and that from Kano we would proceed to Libya.”

The victim, who was full of gratitude to the police for rescuing them, said she was not keen on travelling in the first place.

She said: “I am a tailor. I did not want to go, but my mother said I should go, that I would make a lot of money if I did. My mother knows everything. Even my uncle, I spoke to him and he said it was okay; that I would get a job there.”

Another victim, a 300 level student, who said she was from Delta State but resided with her family in Akure, Ondo State said that a woman in her neighbourhood told her mother that her daughter in Libya said that workers were needed and they should go for the jobs.

“I and three others were told that we would meet Madam’s daughter in Libya, who would get us a job as there was a high demand for workers there.

“That was why my mother allowed me to go on the trip.

“We left Akure for Abuja and we were given a number to call a certain man when we got to Abuja, who would get us a bus that would take us to Libya, and if there was no job in Libya, we would go further to Southampton to get a job.

“They told us we would work as housemaids or cleaners, taking care of animals on the farm or cleaning old people’s homes.”

The Police Public Relations Officer in Niger State, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, said the suspects would be transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Abuja for further investigation.

He advised members of the public, especially parents and guardians, to always monitor their wards and discourage them from embarking on an unnecessary journey in search of means of livelihood.

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