The Nigeria Immigration Service, Lagos Seaports and Marine Command have rescued five victims of human trafficking at Pashi checkpoint in the Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Comptroller Mohammed Saddiq, in charge of the command, 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.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the command received the five persons suspected to be victims of human trafficking on Wednesday around 9.30am.
Saddiq said, “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 immigration boss said that while recounting their ordeal, two of the victims, who accompanied Anireta from Delta State, testified that they were lured into embarking on the journey without their parents’ consent.
He noted that they further confirmed that they were on their way to Mali when they were arrested by personnel on patrol at the Pashi checkpoint.
He added, “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.”