A suspected human trafficker, Abubakar Suleiman, has admitted to Operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team that so far, he has assisted in the trafficking of over 100 Nigerian ladies to Libya through the desert and usually charges N10,000 for each of them.
Suleiman, who was arrested in an operation that was led by the Head of the IRT Unit, Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, said he went into the business only last year but had moved over 100 ladies for the human trafficking syndicate.
He explained that his role in the syndicate was just that of an agent based in Kano.
He said: “I started human trafficking last year; I was introduced to the business by a Nigerian known as Almusuru, who had relocated back to his country.
“Almusuru and I used to work at Matara Motor Park, Daura Road, Kano State.
“After Almusuru returned to Niger Republic, he would call, saying that people were coming to meet him in Niger.
“He would instruct me that when the women get to Kano, I should put them in a vehicle heading to Niger Republic.
“I have sent over 100 women to Almusru and I earned N10,000 on each of them.
“I don’t know where these women come from, but Almusuru is the person communicating with all the agents across Nigeria.
“My job is just to take the women to Niger Republic and Almusuru would pay me.
“I don’t even know if the women would get to Libya successfully or die in the desert.
“I knew it’s a crime, but I was involved in the business because I needed money.”
According to the Police, the human trafficking syndicate is based in Kano State and simply specialised in moving women from Nigeria to Niger Republic and from there to Libya through the desert for prostitution.
Sadly, most of the trafficked women didn’t know they were being led into a trap of sex slavery.
The syndicate usually promises to take them to Libya for a better life and fantastic job.
One of the syndicate’s victims is 28-year-old mother of two, Nofisat Mustapha.
She was rescued by IRT Operatives after they arrested two members of the syndicate in Kano State.
It was further gathered that the syndicate has agents across the country, whose job it was to recruit women for prostitution, while promising them mouthwatering jobs in Libya.
The ladies were not required to pay any money for their transportation as the syndicate would take care of transport fare to Kano State.
When they get to Kano, members of the syndicate would load them into a bus heading to Niger Republic, from where they would be taken to Libya by road.
A Police source said: “The Kano-based syndicate has an affiliation with a human trafficking cell in Niger Republic, which after receiving these women, sell them into prostitution rings in Libya.
“The women would be held captive and made to work as prostitutes for two years, offset bills spent in transporting them to Libya and then their masters or madams would make substantial profits off them.
“Operatives of the IRT in February 2020 gathered intelligence reports about the syndicate’s activities and arrested a commercial bus driver, Abudulahi Umaru, who plies the Abuja-Kano route, working with the syndicate to transport victims from Abuja to Kano State.”
It was gathered that it was through Umaru’s confession that IRT Operatives were able to arrest Suleiman in Kano and rescue Mustapha.
Mustapha, who is a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, narrated how she was lured by the syndicate’s agent and eventually rescued by IRT Operatives.
She said: “My husband left me three years ago, when I was about having my second child.
“He abandoned us after he heard that I would have the baby through a Caesarian Section.
“He had no money.
“He abandoned me in the hospital and ran away.
“My mother footed the bills and I was discharged, but I had no job and was forced to work at a building site in Ogun State.
“I worked to the point where I started feeling pains from the surgery.
“I quit the job and then started cooking and selling noodles.
“Last month, there was this lady living in my area, she approached and told me that she didn’t like the way I was suffering.
“She wanted me to quit and travel to Libya.
“She said that I could get a good job there and earn good salary.
“She said she would send me to Kano State, and that the person in Kano would send me to Libya.
“She said that I would work for a year and that the man in Kano, who sponsored the trip, would take all my salary for a year and after wards, I would start earning my money.
“I boarded a bus to Kano from Agege, Lagos.
“The Police were already waiting to arrest and rescue me at Kano.
“I didn’t know that the plan was to sell me off at Libya.
“I was only trying to go and look for money to take care of my children.
“I am not a prostitute.”
The interstate transporter, Umaru, said: “I was arrested because I am into human trafficking.
“As a bus driver, who plies the Abuja-Kano route, I work for the human trafficking syndicate.
“I help them to ferry victims from Abuja to Kano State, and then hand the ladies over to the agent in Kano.
“The agent in Kano crosses them to Niger Republic, from where they go to Libya and become slaves.
“I don’t care what they do in Libya, though I have heard that there is modern day slavery in Libya.
“I have also heard how Nigerians are being treated in that country.
“All I care about is the money I’m being paid.
“The trip from Abuja is N3,000, but I charge N7,000 for those who are being trafficked out of the country.
“I make N4,000 profit and I have lost counts of the number of people I have trafficked to Libya.”