No fewer than 41` Nigerian young girls were yesterday evacuated from Mali to Nigeria today.
The girls were brought in a Military Transport aircraft Hercules C130 with registration number NAF 913 at about 7.25 pm, which landed at the Nigeria Air Force Hangar at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA),Lagos
The girls were victims of human trafficking, who were trafficked to Bamako, the Malian capital.
They were received on arrival by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)and Nigeria Immigration Service( NIS).
The girls were by Nigerian Immigration officials to ascertain their true identities before they were handed over to NAPTIP.
Dabiri-Erewa who spoke with journalists disclosed that six key suspects(sponsors) usually referred to as “Madams” had picked up the girls mostly from Edo state in Nigeria for onward trafficking to Europe were also apprehended in Bamako and brought back alongside the 41 girls .
She said the evacuation of the girls was made possible by a joint collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Air Force, Office of the Senior Assistant to the President on Diaspora and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
She added that the six Madams have been handed over to security agents for further investigation and prosecution.
Dabiri- Erewa further explained that the evacuation of the girls was part of President Muhammadu Buhari directive that Nigerians stranded anywhere in the world should be assisted to return home safely .
She commended the Chief of Defence Staff , Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Staff for granting the aircraft to facilitate the evacuation of the girls .
In her words, “NAPTIP will rehabilitate them, we have commenced profiling of the girls. But we call on Non Governmental Organizations to join us in tacking this problem. It goes beyond poverty for them to embark on such risky mission. They were deceived, they were lured, but we will ensure we train them to the state of proficiency in different vocations.”
She continued, “We will monitor the girls for two years, so they do not sell the vocational equipment .We have arrested six suspects – the Madams – and have handed them over to security agencies for prosecution.”
Attempt by Abelnewsng.com to interview the young girls was denied by officials of NAPTIP, as according to them there are teenagers.