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World Cup: NAPTIP intercept 10 victims of human trafficking

‘Escaped Chibok girl in JSS1 when abducted’

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Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) have intercepted and rescued 10 Nigerian youths who were being trafficked to Russia ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

It also arrested a policeman, Esan Matthew, a quarantine officer, Stephen Fayemiwo, and three other accomplices – Azeez Olowo, Idowu Fashakin and Eni Godwin.

The rescued victims comprise of nine girls and a boy. Five are from Edo State, three from Delta State, one each from Imo and Benue States. Eight of them reside in Benin, while one each reside in Warri and Osogbo.

A statement by NAPTIP spokesman Vincent Adekoya indicated that the breakthrough was made at Lagos Airport, in an operation code named ‘Operation Block’ while they tried to board a Turkish Airline flight to Russia.

He disclosed that the victims converged in Lagos on Friday from their various locations to meet their recruiters. with NAPTIP operatives having followed their communications until they were stopped at the point of departure.

NAPTIP Director-General Julie Okah-Donli had penultimate week raised alarm that some fake travel agencies and football supporters’ club intend to traffic Nigerians to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

She said the traffickers had arranged with their cohorts in Europe to facilitate the disappearance of “successful” victims out of Moscow to other destination.

Okah-Donli appealed to security agencies to collaborate with the agency in making the 2018 World Cup a traffic-free event.

She also reminded them of the federal government directive that all group delegates to the World Cup must get clearance certificates from NAPTIP before they can be allowed to travel.

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