The Zone ‘F’ Headquarters of the Nigeria Immigration Services, NIS, in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, has arrested seven human traffickers.
The NIS had reportedly launched a search for a certain 15-year-old Togolese girl, identified only as Assana, who was declared missing.
Following the 2-year search, the NIS on Friday, said it arrested seven suspected human traffickers, among who was a man, Cossy.
Cossy, reports say, is the brother of the girl who had since been found and reunited with her family in Togo.
The Deputy Comptroller in charge of anti-human trafficking unit of the headquarters, Kola Sofuwa, who spoke on behalf of the Assistant Comptroller-General and Zonal Coordinator of the Zone F Headquarters, Mike Longe, said a letter, which declared Assana missing for the past two years, and which was addressed to the NIS, triggered the search.
He paraded the suspect before newsmen at the headquarters in Ibadan, disclosing that the girl was brought to Nigeria from Togo by her brother when she was 13 years old in 2013 without any travelling document and she was made to work and was paid various sums of money that never got to her.
He said, “We got the letter in form of a petition and set out looking for Assana. We were able to apprehend the brother who brought her to Nigeria and involved her in a long chain of human trafficking ring.
“He first handed her over to a Togolese trafficking agent called Aishat in Eruwa who also contracted her out to one Alfa Sabe, 55, with an agreement of N60,000 annual wage that never got to the victim.
“One woman simply known as Iya Onigele also paid N72,000 for her services to a Nigerian agent, Iya Nofisat. When she could not endure the hardship, Assana ran away and unfortunately ended up in the hands of another agent, Titi, who is now at large.
“Her final destination was the home of a pastor, Mrs Dorcas Afelumo, who also paid N72,000 for her in exchange for domestic services.
“Even the brother, Cossy, lost track of her before she was rescued at the clergy woman’s house.”
Sofuwa condemned the inhuman journey Assana was made to go through in her early life, stating that the girl had since been reunited with her family in Togo while the arrested human traffickers would be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, for appropriate penalty.
“The other two accomplices now at large, would be apprehended soon,” Sofuwa noted.
Meanwhile, her brother, Cossy, said he sought the permission of their mother before selling his sister.
He told newsmen he got only N52,000 in two instalments and that he did not give his sister any money.
He said, “I brought her here when my wife left me so that she could cook for me. When my wife returned, I gave her out to people who could use her for work. I had to collect money from them after some negotiation.
“I told our mother and I got N52,000 from the deal. I bought things for our mother each time I went home from the money. She permitted me to give Assana away.
“Then Assana got missing and I have since been looking for her,” Cossy added.