The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Comptroller of Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, Mohamed Saddiq, has confirmed the rescue of five human trafficking victims by men of the command.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Saddiq noted that the victims were rescued at the Pashi checkpoint in the Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Saddiq, who spoke at a news conference on Thursday, noted that the victims were intercepted alongside one Mrs Blessing Anireta, 26, without any means of identity or livelihood.
He noted that the command received the victims on Wednesday around 9.30 a.m.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that three of the victims who hail from Abia, Akwa Ibom Plateau states were transported from their respective locations through the point of embarkation under the pretext of getting them legitimate employment in Mali, Benin Republic and Cote d’ Ivoire
“In their separate statements, the unsuspecting first-time travellers, all female, said they were connected to a member of the syndicate in Lagos who coordinated all transportation arrangements to the intended countries of destination.
“As of the time of the press briefing, the suspect is still at large. But we are on the trail to apprehend him and other members of the syndicate,” the NIS Comptroller said.
According to him, two of the victims who accompanied Anireta from Delta State had testified that they were lured into embarking on the journey without their parent’s consent.
While recounting their ordeal, the victims confirmed that they were on their way to Mali when they were arrested by personnel on patrol at the Pashi checkpoint.
“Upon profiling, it was further established that Anireta facilitated the unsuccessful journey with the intent to engage her companions in prostitution in their country of destination.
“The victims, whose ages range between 15 and 23, will at the end of the session, be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons alongside the arrested suspects for further investigation,” the Immigration boss stated.