After several weeks of surveillance, operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) from the Benin Zonal Command have arrested a 33-year-old man, Monday Ugbo, for human trafficking.
Three victims were also rescued from his residence located at number 72 Osayande Street, Upper Sakponba Road, Benin City, Edo State.
Operatives of the 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 and caught him in the process of receiving a registration fee of N50,000 he had demanded from a prospective victim.
Preliminary investigations revealed that he was also preparing to take the three girls to a river that morning for oath taking before they could embark on the journey to Europe.
Mr. Ugbo who claimed to be a bricklayer, according to investigations by the agency, has been in the business of human trafficking for a long time and operates with another woman who is at large now. Mr. Ugbo, who is in the agency’s custody, is making useful statements.
Reacting to this breakthrough, the Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli, commended the operatives and stated that there is no hiding place for human traffickers anymore in Nigeria as the agency and her partners have resolved to collaborate more appropriately in stopping further trafficking of Nigerians both within and outside of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigrations Service, NIS, has handed over 21 rescued victims of human trafficking to NAPTIP. The age range of the victims is between 18 and 34 years.
One suspect was also handed over. Twelve 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 as they were being moved outside the country.
Another nine, all females were handed over to the NAPTIP headquarters, Abuja by the NIS headquarters while attempting to procure International passports to travel out.
All the victims are at present with the agency which is profiling and counselling them while the suspect is making useful statements.