In continuation of the story of Nigerian girls who were trafficked to Libya for prostitution by a Nigerian syndicate allegedly led by a couple, Alhaji Muritala Sanni and his wife Alhaja Lateefat Sanni, 26-year-old Abigail, who is one of the three latest trafficking victims rescued from prostitution in Libya narrates how she was lured to Libya. Abigail and the two other rescued girls are ill and have been undergoing treatment since they were returned to Nigeria through the efforts of the Alliance of Rights Defenders (ARD) a Non Governmental Organization who burst the human trafficking syndicate and have since rescued five girls trafficked for prostitution. Abigail though expressed joy to be back in Nigeria after three years in Libya. However, is ill as she looks pale, with rashes all over her body. She summoned strength as she narrated her ordeal in the hands of the traffickers. She said, “I was living in Bayelsa State . I am an orphan. My parents are dead and I live with my siblings. After my parents died, the responsibility to cater for my siblings fell on me as I was the oldest child. Sometime in 2013, my sister’s friend Nursi came to our house in Bayelsa and saw me resting. She told me I was looking bored. Nursi then told me to come over to Lagos to meet her that she will introduce me to people that will assist me financially. I was interested and I travelled to Lagos to see Nursi. Nursi took me to see Alhaja Lateefat and her husband Alhaji Muritala Sanni.
They told me they can help me to make good money as an auxiliary nurse in Italy. I told them that I had only worked as an auxiliary nurse in Nigeria but they assured me that they have connections in Italy. They told me to pay N10,000 for passport. After I paid the amount, Alhaji Muritala took two other ladies with me to see a herbalist called Ewe. Ewe put gin in a concoction pot and mixed it with a black fish. He gave three of us to eat the concoction. After we ate the concoction, Alhaji Muritala took us to the bus park and we travelled to Kano by road. We met other agents who later moved us by road through the desert to Libya. I was scared and each time I asked them when the plane will come to take us to italy, the agent will tell me that we have to pass through desert first. “At the end, we landed in Libya and Alhaji Muritala told us that we have reached our destination. They locked us up in one room with fifty other girls. We were not allowed to go out and they beat us mercilessly if we attempted to escape” Asked what she was taken to Libya to do for the trafficking syndicate, Abigail said she was forced to abort pregnancies for the girls. “I was later moved from the room where I stayed with other girls to a private room where I was locked up.
Alhaji Muritala and his wife control two brothels . One is called New York Up and the other is called White House. I was in New York Up alone in a room where they kept surgical instruments for me to abort pregnancies. Each day, they bring girls to my room to have me about their pregnancies. Alhaja Lateefat does not allow the girls to abort when they are one month pregnant. She waited until the pregnancies are up to four months and then forced me to abort for the girls. “These girls were deceived by the couple, Alhaji Muritala and Alhaja Lateefat Sanni, that they are bringing them to Italy to work as hairdressers and tailors. These girls are as young as 9 years – 15 years old and they are forced to sleep with men as old as fifty years without protection. There was a day I was moved with sympathy and I assisted a 9 year old girl to escape. I get beaten whenever I refuse to abort for the girls. Alhaja Lateefat will use mopping stick to beat me mercilessly. “I have aborted three hundred and twenty pregnancies. The teenage girls told me they used cucumber to disvirgin them before they were forced to sleep with men. These men are usually criminals but Alhaja Lateefat and Alhaji Muritala do not care. All they are after is money and more money”.
Abigail further narrated how she and other girls were forced to part with millions of naira before they were freed by the gang. She said “ I became fed up with the situation in the brothel and went to meet Alhaja Lateefat to give me freedom but she beat me up and said I have to pay her N2.4 million before I can go. I had to look for that money because she said that’s what the other girls paid and since I don’t have parents or any relations to send the money to her, then I should work for it if I want to get my freedom. God helped me and brought two men to assist me pay. These men are armed robbers and whenever they come to visit me, I take from their money and pay gradually until I paid up the N2.4 million. Alhaja Lateefat and her husband are still owing me N1.5 million for the work I did for them.
It is sad that I did not come back with anything to show for my three years labour in Libya. They took my money and put this sickness in me. I became very ill after I went in January to tell Alhaji Muritala that I cannot continue work but he refused to pay me my money. I got help from a church through the assistance of Alliance of Rights Defenders (ARD) to come back to Nigeria. I and two other girls were brought back by air on March 11th. We are very ill and need government help”. It was gathered that following the revelations by the victims, the NGO had since petitioned the Inspector General of Police IGP Solomon Arase to arrest members of the fleeing syndicate and rescue other girls still held in Libya and following the “Petition on Human trafficking, sexual and labour exploitation” by the NGO, the IGP has since directed the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2 Onikan Lagos to investigate the syndicate and one Inspector Bola Yusuf who assisted the syndicate to escape arrest .
Barrister Ojay Akinwale the Chief Executive Officer of ARD said “We have taken the responsibility to cater for their treatment since we return them to Nigeria. “These ladies are ill and in urgent need of medication and rehabilitation following the ordeal they passed through.” Prince Tunji Oshokoya a private investigator who worked with ARD to locate the girls in Libya and also assisted in returning them to Nigeria urged government to help rescue the girls. He said, “We are also working hard to fish out other members of the cartel. It is sad that following our pressure, and media reports on the trafficking ring, the syndicate are selling the girls in their custody to other cartels in other countries. Government should wake up and take Human trafficking seriously and stop those behind the cartel.”
Source: National Mirror