Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has arrested two Abuja based travel and tour operators for human trafficking and other related offences.
The suspects are the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Family Travel & Tour Limited, Mr Ibrahim Wali, and the Chairman and Chief Executive of Divine Travel & Tour limited, Mr Nasiru Musa Jubril.
A statement from NAPTIP spokesman Vincent Adekoya indicated that preliminary investigations confirmed that the suspects specialized in trafficking people to Saudi Arabia under the cover of Hajj operations.
The two suspects are currently in NAPTIP custody making useful statements as investigations continue.
The Agency said a red flag was raised recently by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in a letter of complaint against Family Travel & Tour Limited, which it said applied and received allocation to take 450 persons to Saudi Arabia during the 2017 Hajj.
“But few months after the Hajj operations ended, the company was unable to account for 96 of the people, and every attempt to get the company to bring the people back failed,” said NAPTIP spokesman Adekoya.
“In the course of investigation, Mr Wali alleged that it was his friend, Mr Musa Jubril, that used his company to transact the business.
NAPTIP Director General Julie Okah–Donli, in the statement, warned travel and tour operators against recruiting innocent Nigerians for sexual and labour exploitation, describing such actions as inimical to the development of the nation.
The Agency had, a few days ago, raided a hideout in Abuja where suspected victims of human trafficking and labour exploitation were kept by operators of some travel and tour companies in readiness for their departure.
Thirteen victims of human trafficking and labour exploitation were rescued at the end of the sting operation, while two suspected traffickers were arrested. The facility was also sealed by the Agency.