Seventy-one young Nigerian girls trafficked to Lebanon and seen crying for help in a video that had gone viral have been rescued and arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, early Monday.
This is according to Mr Bitrus Samuel, the Head of NEMA Abuja Operation Office.
Samuel said the girls are the second batch of the more than 150 Nigerian girls who were trafficked to Lebanon in search for greener pastures.
We reported that the first batch of 94 trafficked victims were received at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, early this month.
He added that 71 repatriated victims would be going from the airport to the hotel where the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) would profile their records.
The agency would also quarantine the girls as a precaution against coronavirus pandemic.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, said the ministry has had several discussions with Mr Houssam Diab, the Ambassador of Lebanon to Nigeria, before the Lebanese Government agreed to release the girls to the Federal Government.
He said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, was very sad when he saw the video footage and had to summon the Lebanese Ambassador, after which both leaders had a series of engagements that led to the release of the girls.
Nwonye said that following the discussions between the two leaders, the Lebanese community in Nigeria through the facilitation of the Nigerian mission in Beirut chartered a flight, paid the flight tickets for these girls to return to Nigeria.
NAN reports that various government officials from NAPTIP, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) were at the airport to receive the girls.
Mr Akinloye Akinsola, the representative of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), said that some Nigerians employed as domestic workers in Lebanon had complained of maltreatment from their Lebanese employers.
He said that sequel to the complaints; the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria had suspended the issuance of working visas to Nigerians seeking to do domestic work in Lebanon to stem the tide of maltreatment.
Akinsola said that the commission had started the procedure for proper harmonisation in line with best practices relating to orderly migration.
He added that the discussion was with the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the House of Representatives’ Chairman on the Diaspora, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Shodipe.