The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, on Sunday said it has arrested a notorious human trafficker and rescued three victims from his residence in Benin.
Josiah Emerole, the Head, Press and Public Relations, NAPTIP, said this in a statement issued in Abuja.
Mr Emerole disclosed that the 33-year-old man, Monday Ugbo, was nabbed after several weeks of surveillance by the operatives of the agency.
He explained that the NAPTIP Benin Zonal Command arrested the suspected human trafficker at his residence located at number 72 Osayande St., Upper Sakponba Road, Benin City, Edo.
“Operatives of our agency have been on his trail for several weeks, following regular mention of his name in a number of human trafficking cases being handled by the Zonal Command.
“Following intelligence reports that he was harbouring some girls in his house preparatory to their being trafficked abroad, the operative swooped on him in the early hours of Friday.
“He was caught in the process of receiving a registration fee of N50,000 he had demanded from a prospective victim,” the spokesman said.
According to him, the preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect is also preparing to take the three girls to a River that morning for oath taking before they could embark on the journey to Europe.
He said that Mr Ugbo claimed to be a bricklayer and has been in the business of human trafficking for a long time operating with another woman now at large.
The spokesperson added that the suspect was in the agency’s custody giving useful statements.
Mr Emerole quoted NAPTIP’s Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, while reacting on the breakthrough commended the operatives, assuring that there is no hiding place for human traffickers anymore in Nigeria.
Mrs Okah-Donli noted that the agency and its partners had resolved to collaborate more appropriately in stopping further trafficking of Nigerians both within and outside the country.
Meanwhile, the NAPTIP spokesman has disclosed that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) had handed over 21 rescued victims of human trafficking to NAPTIP.
He said that the age range of the victims was between 18 and 34 years, while one suspected trafficker was also handed over.
According to him, 12 of the victims comprising five males and seven females were handed over to the Kano Zonal Command of the agency by the NIS after they were intercepted at Babamutum border area of Katsina State by the NIS border patrol.
Mr Emerole said that the victims were being moved outside the country as at the time they were rescued.
He stated that another nine, all females, were handed over to the NAPTIP headquarters in Abuja by the NIS headquarters while attempting to procure International passports to travel out.
The spokesman added that all the victims were presently with the agency for profiling and counseling.