Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Nigerian woman rescued from Lebanon slavery

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A Nigerian, Miss Omolola Ajayi, who was suspected to have been trafficked to Lebanon, has been released.

According to information from the Office of the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Omolola is now in the hands of the Nigerian ambassador in Beirut and she is expected back home soon.

Miss Ajayi had cried out for help in a video which had gone viral, claiming that she was sold into slavery in Lebanon.

The matter has since been transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the agency responsible for handling human trafficked cases.

In an update on Monday, NiDCOM stated on its WhatsApp platform: “Update on the viral video of trafficked Nigerian girl in Lebanon. She is now happily in the hands of the Nigerian Ambassador in Beirut , received warmly and happy to be in safe hands. She will be home soon by God’s grace.”

While crying out for help, Omolola claimed that a family friend introduced her to the Lebanese, who took her to Beirut to teach her children English language.

She said in the video: “A family friend introduced me to the Lebanese that brought me here to teach their children English language. It turned out to be a lie. When I got here, they collected my passport and kept it. I asked why they did that, I was told that I had been sold as a slave. What I’m facing here is not a small thing. I hope I don’t die. If we’re ill, they wouldn’t take us to hospital and they only give us analgesic. Half of

the people we came to Lebanon together with have died.

The Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has revealed how following a video by Omolola her committee and other well-meaning organisations moved to rescue the Osun State indigene in far-away Lebanon.

Her parents, Felicia and Kehinde Ajayi and siblings have been found. They live in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The lawmaker said efforts to rescue the mother of two materialised through her efforts, those of the Diaspora Commission headed by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NAPTIP, in conjunction with Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

The Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a phone chat said although it is not the preserve of the commission to go after trafficked girls and bring them back, but of NAPTIP, the commission cannot fold its arms when informed of such a situation, which is especially rife in Lebanon and Oman.

She said the commission would work with Nigerian foreign missions and embassies to deal with such issues in any country it was found.

She said it is unfortunate that traffickers are walking free, adding that Omolola’s case is one of the many.

On inquiry from the lawmaker (Akande-Sadipe) by The Nation, she said Omolola “has been sorted,” and the agent through which she got to Lebanon “has been arrested.”

She said: “Upon seeing the video, I sent it to the Diaspora Commission and NAPTIP. The response I received was that immediately they saw the video, they moved into action.”

She quoted Diaspora Commission and NAPTIP to have said: “We were able to trace the parents through the efforts of the former supervisor of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Neighbourhood, Rev Alade.

Akande-Sadipe wondered how the desire for money by Nigerians “could make these agents sell out their own people”, adding that “it is very disheartening.”