12th January, 2016
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Cross River Command, said on Tuesday in Calabar that two suspected human traffickers with 29 victims were arrested on January 10.
Mrs Funke Adeuyi, State Comptroller of NIS who addressed newsmen, said that the suspects were apprehended by men of the NIS on border patrol at Itigidi in Abi Local Government Area.
“On January 10, the immigration border patrol officers at Itigidi intercepted two buses carrying 29 youths which we found out to be victims of human trafficking.
“On first line interrogation, we discover that a lot of them were going to an unknown destination.
“We have profiled them, and we have cause to suspect that they were about to be trafficked to an unknown destination.
“The better information on where they intend to traffic them to would be better unraveled when we hand them over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP),” she said.
Adeuyi said the two suspects had some money with them during the arrest, while some of the victims had cell phones with them.
“The victims told us during our first line investigation that they were being taken to a place where they would work and get some money.
“We reliably gathered from some of the victims that their parents were aware that the suspected traffickers were taking them away to do menial jobs that would earn them money.
“We would hand them over to NAPTIP for further investigation on the matter,” she said.
She advised parents to be careful in giving out their children or wards to people whom they do not know much about.
Receiving the victims and suspected traffickers, Mr Victor Odudukudu, an official from NAPTIP, assured that the agency would continue with the investigation.
“We are going to interview the victims and interrogate the suspects.
“We are also going to trace their family members and find out if they actually gave out their children to the suspects,” he said.
One of the suspects, Dennis Agbor, said that he was taking the victims to Akure, Ondo State to work in his restaurant.
Agbor said he took the victims from Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River.
“When I was about going back to my base in Akure, these people met me and appealed that I take them along with me and engage them in menial jobs.
“I agreed to their appeal and promised that I will be paying those that will work in my restaurant some token while I will engage others elsewhere.
“I am not taking them for anything bad; I was only trying to help them earn a living and I even know some of their parents,” he added.