Days after the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) raised the alarm over critical situation of some trafficked 30 Nigerian ladies stranded in Lebanon, the body has again uncovered another set of Nigerians in hundreds battling with similar fate in Saudi Arabia.
JIFORM President, Ajibola Abayomi, in statement made available to the media on Sunday said the body had profile of 138 ladies trafficked to the Arabian nation by a company identified as TTCO.
Some of the names on list included 23 years old Amina Idris an indigene of Kano whose passport is beign withheld by her host, Atanda Easter Idowu, 42 with passport number A09118374; Salawu Yetunde Victoria, 37, with passport number A08233422 both from Oyo State and Gift Israel Johnnu, 25, with passport number A09136678 from Rivers State.
He said the revelation was unraveled in the data made available to JIFORM by the Rescue Africans In Slavery (RAIS), a foundation advocating against human trafficking and child labour.
“We commend the spirited effort of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for picking the bills of 55 victims out of 120 list of trafficked ladies in Lebanon recently released by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM).
“Since we launched rescue campaign that led to the rescue of the 30 girls and others in Lebanon by the Nigerian government, several international agencies had been reaching out to us and we have been directing them to relate with the National Agency for Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) accordingly. JIFORM is committed to humanitarian service and we are willing to do more” Ajibola stated.
Calling for another prompt attention from the Federal Government, the JIFORM President said some of the ladies at different locations in the country were in critical health condition and needed to be attended to in good time.
Also worried by the situation, the Executive Director of RAIS, Ms Omotola Fawunmi said although the temporal arrangement had been made to give the ladies first aid treatment in Saudi Arabia, she however pleaded for action to save the lives of the trafficked victims.
One of the victims who spoke under anonymity, an English and Social Studies graduate from Adeniran Ogunsanya Colleague of Education, Lagos state while appealing for help said all efforts to get the attention of the Nigerian ambassador in Saudi Arabia have proved abortive as non- English speaking staff placed as front desk officers refused to give them attention.
The 26 years old lady on salary equivalent of N70, 000 per month lamented that she was fed with hash treatments being meted to her by her host. The Ogun state indigene said she applied as a teacher through her agents over two years ago only to be given out as house maid when she arrived at the country.
Also appealing for government’s attention, The Migrant Project (TMP), Media Lead, Tayo Elegbede, noted with concern that:”The trend of stranded Nigerians in dire conditions across the Middle East is, unfortunately, worrisome.
“We appeal to relevant authorities to ensure the safe and speedy return of these ladies and other Nigerians trapped across the Middle East. Unarguably, there is the need to decipher and address the fundamental factors responsible for gross undocumented migration of Nigerians, particularly from South-West states, to Middle East countries.
“Public campaigns and enlightenment on the risk and realities of irregular migration and human trafficking need to be advanced across the nooks and cranny of the country, whilst providing viable alternatives.”
IOM launches open South America portal
Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Open South America, available in Spanish, English and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.
The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.
The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.
Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.
“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.
“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.
29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM
The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.
About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.
Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.
He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.
Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.
“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”
Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.
“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.
Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.
The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.
FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK
The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.
Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.
Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.
Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.
“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.
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