The House of Representatives says 80,000 Nigerians are currently held as sex slaves and in forced labour across the world. During plenary on Thursday, Chairman of the Committee on Diaspora, Tolu Akande-Sadipe, said majority were in Lebanon, Mali and across the Middle East.
She condemned the complacency of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Employment.
Sadipe alerted that the Foreign Affairs Ministry, under the guise of diplomacy, was working to release alleged Lebanese trafficker, Wafic Mohammed Hamza.
Hamza was apprehended by National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for alleged trafficking of sixteen Nigerian girls to Lebanon.
“Records show that Wafic Hamza was complicit in the trafficking of 16 girls. 10 have been repatriated to Nigeria, and 6 remain stranded in Lebanon.
“Hamza is in custody in Ilorin, Kwara State, awaiting trial for trafficking. But it appears that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working for his release without any regard for our citizens losses, their repatriation back home and compensation.”
Sadipe decried the unprecedented rise in the dehumanization of citizens even in nations with long history of cordial relationship with Nigeria.
“The ongoing sordid dehumanizing treatment foisted on Nigerians abroad particularly trafficked girls under the cover of foreign domestic staff has become very disturbing.
“According to NAPTIP, in the past one year, there has been an alarming number of daily distress calls from Nigerian women crying to be rescued due to the inhumane conditions they face in countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon and Mali.”
The legislator, in a motion raised, called for parliamentary intervention to ensure eradication of trafficking and maltreatment of citizens in foreign land.
Sadipe implored President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction the Minister and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, for allegedly violating suspension of the issuance of International Recruiters Licenses.
She decried that many companies were excused from the mandatory annual reporting requirements on location and conditions of service of each recruited Nigerian taken abroad.
Speaking, Hon. Tolulope Akande, raised the plight of Nigerian students in Turkey who cannot afford the cost of evacuation flight.
She urged the House to compel the Foreign Affairs Ministry to negotiate affordable flights for nationals in the Diaspora.