Nigerian woman rescued from Lebanon slavery

Nigerian, Miss Omolola Ajayi, who was suspected to have been trafficked to Lebanon, has been released. According to information from the Office of the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Omolola is now in the hands of the Nigerian ambassador in Beirut and she is expected back home soon.

Miss Ajayi had cried out for help in a video which had gone viral, claiming that she was sold into slavery in Lebanon.

The matter has since been transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the agency responsible for handling human trafficked cases.

In an update yesterday, NiDCOM stated on its WhatsApp platform: “Update on the viral video of trafficked Nigerian girl in Lebanon. She is now happily in the hands of the Nigerian Ambassador in Beirut , received warmly and happy to be in safe hands. She will be home soon by God’s grace.”

While crying out for help, Omolola claimed that a family friend introduced her to the Lebanese, who took her to Beirut to teach her children English language.

She said in the video: “A family friend introduced me to the Lebanese that brought me here to teach their children English language. It turned out to be a lie. When I got here, they collected my passport and kept it. I asked why they did that, I was told that I had been sold as a slave. What I’m facing here is not a small thing. I hope I don’t die. If we’re ill, they wouldn’t take us to hospital and they only give us analgesic. Half of the people we came to Lebanon together with have died.

“The person I’m with now wanted to rape me, but I didn’t agree. I’m struggling with him. He has collected my phone. He said he wouldn’t return it until I accepted his sexual advances. If he is sleeping or has gone out, I take the phone.

“I told my boss that I wanted to be returned to Nigeria, he replied that he had paid for me; that dead or alive, he owns me. I have a three-year-old baby in Nigeria. Feminique Life Support, please help me, have mercy on me! I want to take care of my daughter. Please don’t let my death make my parents cry.

“The other girl I worked with has travelled, so he could come at me again. Please help me, don’t allow them to kill me in this country. I don’t even have a room to sleep. I sleep on the floor, in the parlour, in this cold weather. I’m not even given a cloth to cover; I wear rags. Please help me because as this man tries to rape me, if I push him away, I am scared of him dying in my hands because they’ll kill me too.

“My child doesn’t know me and I am suffering too much. The work I came here to do is different from what they are using me for here, and as I speak, I’m even ill and the only drug I had been given was an analgesic.”

The Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has revealed how following a video by Omolola her committee and other well-meaning organisations moved to rescue the Osun State indigene in far-away Lebanon.

Her parents, Felicia and Kehinde Ajayi and siblings have been found. They live in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The lawmaker said efforts to rescue the mother of two materialised through her efforts, those of the Diaspora Commission headed by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NAPTIP, in conjunction with Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

The Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a phone chat said although it is not the preserve of the commission to go after trafficked girls and bring them back, but of NAPTIP, the commission cannot fold its arms when informed of such a situation, which is especially rife in Lebanon and Oman.

She said the commission would work with Nigerian foreign missions and embassies to deal with such issues in any country it was found.

She said it is unfortunate that traffickers are walking free, adding that Omolola’s case is one of the many.

On inquiry from the lawmaker (Akande-Sadipe) she said Omolola “has been sorted,” and the agent through which she got to Lebanon “has been arrested.”

She said: “Upon seeing the video, I sent it to the Diaspora Commission and NAPTIP. The response I received was that immediately they saw the video, they moved into action.” 
She quoted Diaspora Commission and NAPTIP to have said:  “We were able to trace the parents through the efforts of the former supervisor of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Neighbourhood, Rev Alade. 

•Bura (middle); Ajayi (second right) and officials of the commission PHOTO: NIDCOM
•Bura (middle); Ajayi (second right) and officials of the commission               PHOTO: NIDCOM

“The parents and siblings have been located in Ilorin. The Chairman of CAN, Kwara State chapter, Dr. Ibitoye, is handling the case. 

“We took the parents to the office of NAPTIP and Immigration Service. 

“The man who took her to Lebanon has been arrested.”

Akande-Sadipe wondered how the desire for money by Nigerians “could make these agents sell out their own people”, adding that “it is very disheartening.”

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