- The chairman, House of Reps committee on Diaspora affairs, has said that Nigeria's Ministry of Labour gives licences to international traffickers to operate
- This position was made known by Tolulope Akande-Sadipe during a chat with journalists on Monday, August 10
- The lawmaker charged the FG to probe the ministry for its contribution to the trafficking business and violation of citizens' rights in Nigeria
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Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, the chairman, House committee on the Diaspora affairs, has called on the federal government to urgently put a stop to the exploitation of Nigerians abroad.
Legit.ng's regional reporter in Oyo state, Ridwan Kolawole, reports that the lawmaker pointed out that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment under the supervision of Chris Ngige has continued to issue international recruiters licenses to trafficking agents despite the federal government’s 2017 moratorium.
Akande-Sadipe said this on Monday, August 10, while responding to questions from journalists, lamenting that Nigeria has no bilateral labour agreement with any nation and that the execution of the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) has been lingering.
She said: “Federal government placed a moratorium on the 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 their citizens under the guise of domestic servitude.
Akande-Sadipe, who represents Oluyole federal constituency in the green chamber, said 80,000 Nigerian girls are currently held as sex slaves, and forced labour in Mali, across Middle East nations - with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman top on the list.
She said: “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.
“These agents collect $1000 plus the first 3 to 6months 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.”
The lawmaker also revealed that the agents lied to the ladies about the jobs waiting for them in foreign lands, urging Nigerians to move away from the perception that the girls left the shores for prostitution.
She, however, decried the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige's refusal to appear before the committee after four invitations, adding that the ministry also refused to submit the requested information.
She added that information submitted earlier by the ministry of labour and productivity was inconsistent compared to the relevant records of other federal government agencies, such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Inland Revenue Service.
“In addition, the ministry has not been complying with laid down policies and procedures for international recruitment. For example, Agents' pre-licensing procedures contravened the requirements of doing business with federal government MDA’s.
“The Ministry did not conduct the mandatory-departure counselling; had no records of the annual reporting requirements mandated to Agents, which should provide information on the whereabouts of each Nigerian recruited, compensation and contact details,” she disclosed.
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.
“It is disheartening that the federal ministry of labour and employment, the permanent secretary and those who came with him gave the committee false information. This issue of human trafficking has reached pandemic levels and the appeals for help circulating across social media is an embarrassment to our nation,” she said.
She, therefore, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate an executive investigation into the activities of labour and productivity.
The lawmaker also urged the president to empower National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, adding that this would enable them to achieve their mandate to apprehend and prosecute the erring agents and to review the activities and funding of foreign missions to enable them to meet their responsibilities to Nigerians across the world.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the House of Representatives began investigations into the alleged illegal removal of managements of three federal agencies by the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, and the minister of power, Sale Mamman.
It was reported that the affected agencies are Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
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