Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has accused the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment of violating laws against human trafficking.
She said the ministry has continued to issue international recruiters licenses to agents despite the Federal Government’s 2017 moratorium.
Akande-Sadipe stated this on Monday while responding to questions from journalists, lamenting that Nigeria has no bilateral labour agreement with any nation and the execution of the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) has been lingering.
She said, “Federal Government placed a moratorium on issuance of international recruiters license in September 2017 and yet the Ministry of Labour and Productivity as at January 2020 was still issuing international recruiters licenses.”
She added that many nations in the Middle East and even within Africa were violating the rights of Nigerians under the guise of domestic servitude.
The Oluyole federal constituency representative said 80,000 Nigerian girls are currently held as sex slaves and forced into labour in Mali, across Middle East nations – with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia UAE and Oman top on the list.
“The question we must ask is how they got there? We have called out immigration but then again the ministry of labour is also complicit,” she said.
She pointed out that “these agents collect $1000 plus the first 3 to 6 months salaries of the girls and abandon them to their plight in the foreign nations. The trafficked girls, unfortunately, are ignorant of the ills they may face abroad and are lured by the agents because they seek a better life.”
Akande-Sadipe further stated that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment William Alo and two of his lieutenants lied under oath to the diaspora committee.
She therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate an executive investigation into the activities of the labour ministry.
She also urged the president to empower the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), adding that this would enable them to achieve their mandate to apprehend and prosecute these agents and to review the activities and funding of foreign missions to enable them meet their responsibilities to Nigerians across the world.