From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse
Over the years, traffickers have developed a knack for traveling outside the shores of Nigeria in search of greener pastures that often turn out to be a mirage.
Despite the obvious harm that eventually ends their stories, hordes of young ladies across the country resort to risking it all just to make these trips, which they hope would end their poverty and want.
The young ladies, hopeful of a better life outside Nigeria, travel by land through Katsina State, Niger Republic and through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert, landing in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, from where, in most cases, they make a further leap through the sea to the shores of Europe.
A few days ago, seven of these ladies landed in Jigawa State but were unlucky as they were arrested at Gurai village in Babura Local Government Area of the state by officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service.
They had assembled in this village from their different backgrounds preparatory to proceeding to Niger Republic en-route to Libya.
Jigawa State Controller, Nigeria Immigration Service, Ismail Abba Aliyu, who paraded these ladies, expressed grief at the prevalence of trans-Sahara human trafficking business even as he condemned the fact that the ladies were perhaps leaving to country to engage in prostitution in a foreign land.
Abba disclosed that the ladies, who were aged between 16 to 27 years, came from the states of Ogun, Lagos, Kwara, Imo and Oyo. Breaking down the figure, Ismail said two of the arrested ladies came from Ogun, one from Lagos, two from Imo, one from Oyo while another from Kwara states, respectively.
Some of these ladies, he stated, had incomplete traveling papers adding that they came through Kano State and were communicating with their contact, who had completed arrangement for their movement to their intended destination.
He disclosed that only two of the arrested ladies possessed valid but blank traveling green passports while another had on her an ECOWAS traveling passport even though her desired destination was not within the ECOWAS region.
Abba added that they had all confessed that they were traveling to Tripoli in Libya through the Sahara desert, starting from Niger Republic, adding that they unanimously stressed that they were traveling out of the country to better their lives through prostitution.
They revealed that they had already made significant arrangements with a contact who had appointed a diver that would convey them to Niger Republic.
On how they were arrested, he said that it was not without a drama, adding that his officers chased the girls into the bush to effect their arrest while their driver abandoned the vehicle and fled.
These ladies have different stories about their intentions. Bilkisu, aged 26, is from Lagos State. She holds an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Business Management. Speaking with Daily Sun, she confessed she decided to embark on the trip after it was obvious nobody wanted to employ her after her graduation.
‘I’ have been trying so hard to get a job to fend for my aged mother and my other younger siblings. But my efforts were to no avail,’ she stated.
She added that ‘I was advised to travel to Libya where I will get a better means of livelihood.’
She said that her plan was to get enough money when she got to Libya, which would enable her set-up a decent business in Nigeria in order to fend for herself.
Another trafficked victim is 16 year Zainab. She hails from Lagos State and confessed that she was lured by her relative to embarking on the trip so she could make fortunes for her family.
Also arrested by the Immigration is 17 year Chidinma, who hails from Imo State. She told Daily Sun that she was rather deceived into embarking on the trip where she was promised to head to Europe for an undisclosed work.
The Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Daily Sun was told, has since directed that the victims of trafficking should be handed over to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) in Kano.
The Police Command in Jigawa State on March 31 rescued three women in the same Babura axis of the state who were suspected to have been trafficked from Plateau State.