Reps Committee accuses Labour Minister of aiding human trafficking
The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora has accused the Federal Ministry of Labour of aiding human trafficking.
Chairman of the Committee, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe (APC-Oyo), made this known at a public hearing on Thursday in Abuja.
She said that the ministry had also continued to frustrate frantic effort of the National Assembly to combat the crime.
“The House Committee on Diaspora, in a bid to find workable solution in tackling the menace of trafficking and the dehumanising condition of Nigerians abroad by some local and international syndicates, has been having a series of interagency meetings with stakeholders.
”But regrettably, the Ministry of Labour that is at the centre of the whole controversy has intentionally refused to honour the committee invitation for five consecutive meetings.
“We have invited the minister five times, today being the fifth and he was again represented by a Permanent Secretary who claims he is new and does not understand the workings and what transpired prior to his engagement.
“This is in spite of having signed a recruiters licence earlier this year where there was a moratorium placed on such licences since 2017.
“It appears that there is a clear incompetence or complicity within the ministry that has led to this compromise trafficking and abuse of Nigerian citizens,” she said.
The chairman said that investigation showed that licences were issued after the moratorium that allowed agents “traffic our girls”.
She said agents were allowed to take Nigerians to Lebanon a country that doesn’t have a labour pact with Nigeria.
According to her, licences were also issued to companies who have not complied with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) requirements.
The lawmaker said that girls were allowed to be taken out by agents without the mandatory counselling and orientation.
He said that agents were allowed to operate without annual reports on the domestic staff sent abroad.
“The Ministry of Labour has refused to submit documentation requested; where documentation was provided, the investigation revealed that there were inconsistencies in the report from labour in comparison with FIRS, CAC NAPTIP, Ministry of Justice and National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
“Even where labour made a report submission, their submission was in conflict with the documentation backing it up also submitted by them,” she said.
Akande-Sadipe expressed sadness that Nigeria had to witness such a great disregard for the life of a Nigerian citizen by encouraging their trafficking.
“Today we have over approximately, as I do not have the records right here, 20,000 girls in Mali, 2,000 girls in Saudi Arabia and 1,000 girls in Oman.
“We have 150 girls in Abu Dhabi, 2,000 girls in Dubai, 2,000 girls in Libya in a very dehumanising condition even the country government cannot get to these girls being held as slaves in remote areas,” she said.
The chairman promised that the parliament will take the matter up at plenary.