Personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, have foiled an attempt to smuggle seven Nigerian girls to Burkina Faso.
This was revealed by the comptroller of command, Mohammed Saddiq, who disclosed this at a media conference in Lagos on Friday.
According to Mr Saddiq, the girls were intercepted on November 12 at about 7:00 p.m.
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He said the prime suspect, Helen Dandam Nanbyen, 26, hails from Wadata village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau.
“The suspects have been under the command’s radar for about two months following intelligence gathered by our operatives.
“That led to their arrest by the Badagry Marine Border Patrol Team along the Pashi waterway bordering Nigeria and Benin Republic.
“It was uncovered, during the course of the investigation, that the seven smuggled victims, whose ages range from 19 to 23, hail from Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau.
“It is important to state that the girls willfully consented to the journey under false identities with intent to indulge in prostitution while in their country of destination,” he said.
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The immigration boss noted that the suspects neither had any valid travel documents nor financial means to sustain themselves during the journey.
He pointed out that under interrogation, Ms Nanbyen narrated her role in the illicit business and admitted her involvement in prostitution.
“She also admitted to facilitating the transportation of potential sex workers into Burkina Faso.
“She said it was with the support of her madam, an indigene of Edo, who operates a beer-selling spot in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital.
“She also admitted working with one Miss Ella, who she claimed recruited four out of the girls but is currently at large,” the controller said.
He added that the arrest was a fallout of the command’s renewed commitment to the directive of the comptroller-general of the NIS, Caroline Wura-ola Adepoju, toward curbing migrant smuggling, human trafficking and all forms of crimes within the maritime space.
Mr Saddiq said the smuggled migrants would be reunited with their families through the Plateau government, while the suspect would remain in their custody for further investigation and prosecution.
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Ms Nanbyen said she told the girls about job opportunities in Lagos because they were enticed by the way she was looking and the fact that she was coming from Burkina Faso.
A 19-year-old victim, name withheld, said she was told she had an offer of a job to serve drinks and food in a pub and was not aware that she was being taken to Burkina Faso.