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Immigration foils attempt to smuggle 7 Nigerian girls to Burkina Faso

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The 7 girls stopped by operatives of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) from trip to Burkina Faso for prostitution

By Chiazo Ogbu

Operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS),Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, have foiled an attempt to smuggle seven Nigerian girls from Plateau to Burkina Faso.

The Comptroller of Immigration, Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, Malam Mohammed Saddiq, disclosed this at a media conference in Lagos on Friday.

According to Saddiq, the girls were intercepted on Nov. 12, at about 19.00 hours.

He said that the prime suspect, Miss Helen Dandam Nanbyen, 26, hails from Wadata village in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau.

“The suspects have been under the command’s radar for about two months following intelligence gathered by our operatives.

“That led to their arrest by Badagry Marine Border Patrol Team along Pashi waterway bordering Nigeria and Benin Republic.

“It was uncovered, during the course of investigation, that the seven smuggled victims, whose ages range from 19 to 23, hail from Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau.

“It is important to state that the girls willfully consented to the journey under false identities with intent to indulge in prostitution while in their country of destination,” he said.

The immigration boss, however, noted that the suspects neither had any valid travel documents nor financial means to sustain themselves during the journey.

He pointed out that under interrogation, Nanbyen narrated her role in the illicit business and admitted her involvement in prostitution.

“She also admitted facilitating the transportation of potential sex workers into Burkina Faso.

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“She said that it was with the support of her madam, an indigene of Edo, who operates a beer selling spot in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso capital.

“She also admitted working with one Miss Ella, who she claimed recruited four out of the girls, but is currently at large,” the controller said.

He added that the arrest was a fallout of the command’s renewed commitment to the directive of the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Caroline Wura-ola Adepoju, toward curbing migrant smuggling, human trafficking and all forms of crimes within the maritime space.

“I want to commend the role of the intelligence community in this endeavour. I also call on parents to be more concerned about their children’s activities,” he said.

Saddiq said that the smuggled migrants would be reunited with their families through the Plateau Government, while the suspect would remain in their custody for further investigation and prosecution.

Nanbyen said she told the girls about job opportunities in Lagos because they were enticed with the way she was looking and the fact that she was coming from Burkina Faso.

The suspect regretted taking the girls out of the country without valid documentation.

A 19-year-old victim, name withheld, said she wanted to travel with them because she was not working.

According to her, she was told she had an offer of a job to serve drinks and food in a pub and was not aware that she was being taken to Burkina Faso.

“I met Nanbyen in Plateau, she asked for my number and if I was married or even working, before offering me a job in a pub in Lagos.

“She told me to also invite a friend and they lodged us in a hotel and later took us on the journey,” she said.

She added that it was in the boat, when they were accosted by immigration officers, that the woman told them to tell the officers that they were going to Burkina Faso.(NAN

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