By Dipo Olowookere
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, is not happy that some Nigerians have to run to unsafe countries like Mali, Oman, Lebanon and others in the search for green pastures.
The lawmaker, who represents Oluyole Federal Constituency in Oyo State at the National Assembly, blamed this on the current situation of things in the country.
Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa but the country is regarded as the poverty capital of the world despite having huge mineral and human resources.
Its citizens are spread across the world in search of a better life even in harsh places, while some of those at home are praying for a day things would be better for them.
On Tuesday, Mrs Akande-Sadipe reunited an indigene of Oyo State repatriated from Oman to Nigeria with her family after she was maltreated by her employers.
The victim, Ms Adunni Nafisat Oseni, a member of her constituency, was denied the opportunity to return home by her employers, until her office intervened and brought back home through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
On the return of Ms Oseni to Nigeria, after willingly submitting herself to be repatriated, Mrs Akande-Sadipe decried the inhumane treatment being melted on Nigerians in some Arab countries and the unfortunate situation they subject them to.
According to her, “The ugly situation in the country led Nigerians to these unsafe countries in search for greener pastures.
“However, they became victims and targets of attack in those countries Nigeria has no bilateral relationship with. This made them come back home most times with nothing.”
She said, “As it stands today, we have over 20,000 Nigerian girls living in tents in Mali, an African country, over 40,000 girls in Lebanon.”
The lawmaker also condemned the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the Ministry of Labour in the issue, saying “The Ministry needs to take charge of its responsibilities and functions in ensuring they check if Nigeria has bilateral relationships with some of the countries Nigerians are being trafficked to.”
She noted that some of the agents who traffic girls to Arab countries and neighbouring African countries have no license from the Ministry of Labour, asking for certain actions to nip this ugly act in the bud.
Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe assured Nigerians that the returnee was properly screened by security agencies and health institutions to ascertain her status before being released into the society.
She also expressed the commitment of the ninth assembly to fighting against human trafficking offenders in the nation by enacting stricter laws.
“We have a responsive 9th assembly under Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila which is putting in place right laws that would guide against these incessant occurrences,” Mrs Akande-Sadipe said.
She commended the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for its good work and synergy with relevant agencies and called for more funding for the agency, which is saddled with the responsibility to fight human trafficking in the country.
The congresswoman also appealed to the relevant agencies working together with the Nigeria Police Force to press charges against traffickers, saying this will deter others.
Speaking on the delay of 35 Nigerians at the Ghanaian border, she said the proper arm of the executive has picked up the responsibility.
Mrs Akande-Sadipe also called for further collaboration among all relevant government in rehabilitating the girls, who she noted left the country for socio-economic reasons.
Recalling her ordeal in Oman, Ms Oseni called on girls and young people not to rush out of the country in search of greener pastures without proper scrutiny of the agent involved.
EFCC Goes After Car Dealers, Real Estate Agents, Others
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdularasheed Bawa, has hinted that a searchlight will be beamed on car dealers, jewellery sellers, real estate agents and others.
The anti-money laundering agency, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that evidence has shown that these set of people use proceeds of corruption for their business transactions.
He said the EFCC was working on a number of proactive strategies including a special control unit against money laundering, established particularly to address non-designated financial institutions including car dealers, real estate, jewellery dealers, among others.
Mr Bawa said that he was confident that when the unit is fully established, corruption will significantly decline in the country.
He added that the agency was equally working towards the development of a biometric ownership database to address money laundering.
According to him, most proceeds of crime are laundered through real estate and have become a huge challenge, giving examples of property acquired especially in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt where billions of naira were laundered through this means.
He, however, declined to disclose actual perpetrators or the properties involved but revealed that since his assumption, a number of recoveries have been made including N6 billion, $161 million, £13,000, €1,730, among others.
He further said internet fraudsters numbering 1,502 have also been apprehended between January and June 2021, noting that efforts were underway to file about 800 of them.
Mr Bawa was at the Presidential Villa yesterday to clarify the specific Minister involved in the laundering of about $37 million into real estate to which he referred in his earlier statement.
He said the matter was an old case involving a former Minister of Petroleum, Ms Allison Diezani Madueke.
KedCo Warns Customers Against Meter Bypass
By Adedapo Adesanya
The management of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has cautioned customers in its franchise areas against meter bypass as it intensifies efforts in meter installation.
According to a statement by KEDCO’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Ibrahim Sani Shawai, “the warning had become necessary as a way of ensuring that renewed efforts at speeding up metering are not sabotaged.
“Anyone caught bypassing our meters would not be spared as we will go all out within the provisions of the law of the land to ensure that violators are made to pay penalty after prosecution.
“We are speeding up processes to ensure that 87,747 meters are installed by the end of the month under the zero phase.
“We have met with all vendors and mandated them to increase manpower to ensure speedy deployment and installation of meters to customers.
“We appeal to our numerous customers to give vendors the necessary cooperation to ensure that estimated billing system is brought to an end in KEDCO franchise within the shortest time possible.”
The distribution company had recently warned customers against meter apathy as it observed that some customers were deliberately refusing to get metered, which it considers unacceptable.
KEDCO is one of the major Nigerian electricity distribution companies. KEDCO operates in the northwestern geopolitical zone of Nigeria and generates, distributes and markets electricity in three states. It covers the franchise states of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa.
Navy Seizes 251 Bags of Smuggled Rice in Akwa Ibom
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has impounded 251 bags of rice smuggled through the waterways.
The Commanding Officer of FOB, Navy Captain Suleiman Abdullahi, disclosed this in Ibaka on Thursday when he handed over the bags of contrabands to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He said that the 251 bags of rice were seized from smugglers on June 15 during routine patrol operations by the unit, explaining that the suspects abandoned the rice and the boat and fled on sighting the naval patrol team, emphasising that the Base would not relent in putting an end to illegalities on the Akwa Ibom waterways.
“What you are witnessing here today is the handover of 251 bags of rice suspected to be smuggled into the Nigerian maritime border.
“By the directive of the Flag Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim, we have zero tolerance for smuggling.
“By the directive, we have carried out intensive patrol and on June 15, 2021, we seized one wooden boat and 251 bags of smuggled rice.
“On sighting the patrol team, the smugglers abandoned the rice inside the boat and flee to escape arrest.
This is an indication of their awareness of the crime perpetrated by these suspects for them to have abandoned their boat and flee,” Mr Abdullahi said.
The commanding officer warned smugglers to relocate out of the Nigerian maritime borders, stressing that it would not be business as usual for them.
He urged them to desist from smuggling and other illegal businesses, but they should engage in legitimate endeavours.
“I will like to use this opportunity to warn those maritime criminals that it is not going to be business as usual.
“That they should desist from their criminal ways and engage in genuine business, otherwise the long arm of the law will catch up on them,” he said.
Receiving the 251 bags of rice on behalf of the customs, the Comptroller of Sector 1, Port Harcourt, Mr Shehu Abubakar, said the agency would do everything possible to stop smuggling in the country.
Mr Abubakar, who was represented by the Superintendent of Customs, Border Drill Patrol Team, Oron Axis, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, warned smugglers to desist from the illegal trade, stressing that the organisation would continue to checkmate all economic sabotage in the country.
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