By Ajibola Abayomi
The combined operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Department of State Services (DSS), Imo State Command, have rescued a middle – aged Burundian woman and herthree children suspected to be victims of trafficking, from a village in the state where they were being exploited by their trafficker.
A statement by the NAPTIP Press Officer, Adekoye Vincent confirmed that the victims, Ms Siniremera Snadrine Bizimana and her three children namely Murwaneza Zertha Maecy, Akimana ken Bethel and Umwiza Goodluck Collins, were set free through the early morning sting operation carried out on their holding mud house located in Umunoha village in Mbaitol Local Government Area of Imo State.
Investigation revealed that the victims were rescued based on a complaint from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees lodged at the Headquarters of NAPTIP and further directive from the Director General of the Agency, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi.
It was gathered that the victims who have refugee status in Kenya, were trafficked to Lagos, Nigeria by yet to be identified human trafficker in September 2021 and thereafter moved to Umunoha, Imo State where their movement were restricted and forced into menial labour of all sorts on daily basis in order to feed.
Their traveling document and other valuable personal belongings were also confiscated by the unknown trafficker in the process.
In his explanation, the Commander, Imo State Command of NAPTIP, Mr. Earnest Ogbu, stated that account from the victims indicated that they may have been deceived by the trafficker into coming to Nigeria and a remote village in Imo State without any resistance.
Speaking on the development, Director General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi, thanked all stakeholders and partners who provided information and assisted in ensuring a successful operation that led to the rescue of the victims.
The NAPTIP boss specifically appreciates the effort and collaboration of the Imo State Command of the Department State Services for providing the needed operational support.
She assured that those behind the ordeal of the victims shall be identified and prosecuted. “I have directed our operatives to carry out diligent investigation on how the victims got to the village. The traffickers will be identified and made to face justice”, the NAPTIP Director General stated.