Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has warned Nigerian footballers and other athletes who are desperate to ply their trade abroad to be wary of organ harvesters disguising as scouts.
NAPTIP’s Lagos zonal command gave the warning while revealing different tricks being used by human traffickers and organ harvesters to lure their victims.
The zonal commander, Mr Daniel Atokolo, who made the disclosure the press briefing in Ikeja, said that footballers and other athletes are now the targets of organ harvesters disguising as sports scouts.
He said organ harvesting has gotten to an advanced stage and different tricks are being deployed to lure people abroad.
Atokolo said despite the fact that citizens of Third World countries’ citizens have become targets of organ harvesters, no one in Nigeria is yet to report a case to the agency.
“Organ harvesting is topical now; it is too much but we are yet to have any case where people will report that their organs were harvested. We know it exists and it is a terrible operation that is clandestine in nature.
“For any young man and woman who can play for 90 minutes, this means he or she is physically fit and has good medical composure; those with these qualities are their target.
“They will come with mouth-watering offers, it can either be a scholarship or contract to ply your trade abroad; these people disguise as scouts, but they are not; they are agents of organ harvesters.
“They look real in their approach, because of what they ask you to provide – like medical reports and the rest – their victims will be subject to different medical screening but within them, they are judging to match up your status with what they need in a country they are luring you to.
“Many have gone without returning to tell their stories – all goodies, opportunities dangling at you are just to lure you to point of no return,” the NAPTIP commander said.
Atokolo gave tips to footballers, athletes, and other Nigerians who desire to work aboard to always be on guard whenever what is offered them sounds too rosy, advising them to check the background and track record of the so-called agents or scouts.