Days after the Journalists International Forum For Migration raised the alarm over the critical situation of some trafficked 30 Nigerian ladies stranded in Lebanon, the body has again uncovered another set of Nigerians in hundreds battling with similar fate in Saudi Arabia.
JIFORM President, Ajibola Abayomi, in statement made available to the media on Sunday, said the body had the profile of 138 ladies trafficked to the Arabian nation by a company identified as TTCO.
Some of the names on list included 23-year-old Amina Idris, an indigene of Kano State, whose passport is being withheld by her host; Atanda Easter Idowu, 42, with passport number: A09118374, from Oyo State; Salawu Yetunde Victoria, 37, with passport number: A08233422, also from Oyo State; and Gift Israel Johnnu, 25, with passport number: A09136678, from Rivers State.
Abayomi said the revelation was unraveled in the data made available to JIFORM by the Rescue Africans In Slavery, a foundation advocating against human trafficking and child labour.
He said: “We commend the spirited effort of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State for picking the bills of 55 victims out of 120 list of trafficked ladies in Lebanon recently released by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
“Since we launched rescue campaign that led to the rescue of the 30 girls and others in Lebanon by the Nigerian government, several international agencies had been reaching out to us and we have been directing them to relate with the National Agency for Trafficking In Persons accordingly. JIFORM is committed to humanitarian service and we are willing to do more.”
Calling for another prompt attention from the Federal Government, the JIFORM President said some of the ladies in different locations Saudi Arabia were in critical health condition and needed to be attended to in good time.
Also worried by the situation, the Executive Director of RAIS, Omotola Fawunmi, said although temporary arrangement had been made to give the ladies first aid treatment in Saudi Arabia, there was the need for prompt action to save the lives of the trafficked victims.
One of the victims, an English and Social Studies graduate from Adeniran Ogunsanya Colleague of Education, Lagos State, who spoke on anonymity of anonymity, while appealing for help, said all efforts to get the attention of the Nigerian Ambassador in Saudi Arabia have proved abortive as non-English speaking staff placed as front desk officers refused to link them up.
The 26-year-old lady on salary equivalent of N70,000 per month, lamented that she was fed up with harsh treatments being meted to her by her host.
The Ogun State indigene said she applied as a teacher through her agents over two years ago only to be given out as house maid when she arrived in the country.
Also appealing for government’s attention, the Media Lead of The Migrant Project, Tayo Elegbede, noted with concern: “The trend of stranded Nigerians in dire conditions across the Middle East is, unfortunately, worrisome.
“We appeal to relevant authorities to ensure the safe and speedy return of these ladies and other Nigerians trapped across the Middle East. Unarguably, there is the need to decipher and address the fundamental factors responsible for gross undocumented migration of Nigerians, particularly from South-West states, to Middle East countries.
“Public campaigns and enlightenment on the risk and realities of irregular migration and human trafficking need to be advanced across the nooks and cranny of the country, whilst providing viable alternatives.”