Officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service have intercepted no fewer than 189 boys and girls believed to be victims of human trafficking at the Lagos Border Patrol Command in Seme.
Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Isah Jere Idris, made the announcement.
Speaking at the Zone ‘A’ headquarters of the service in Lagos, Jere said the youth made up of 115 girls and 74 boys, aged between 15 and 20, were intercepted in batches on their way out of the country through the Seme border area.
He said 92 of the victims were intercepted on January 22, 2022, while another 97 were picked up shortly afterwards.
In a statement by spokesperson for the service, Amos Okpu, the CG said the victims were on their way to Emerald University in Benin Republic to commence degree programmes.
He said a faith-based organisation operating in Imo and Abia states offered them provisional admissions into the school.
He revealed that the victims, who are from states such as Abia, Kogi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Lagos and Imo among others, could neither present any admission letters nor evidence of payment of school fees for their studies, while only three of them hold valid travel documents.
Investigation, according to him, disclosed that two persons, Sunday Emmanuel Chinasa and M. Rose Onum Uduma, who were also arrested along with the victims, coordinated the trip.
The duo claimed to be students of ISCG University in Benin Republic and had been mandated to facilitate the movement of the youngsters to Benin Republic, even as each of the victims claimed to have paid the sum of N50,000 for the process.
Jere used the opportunity to call on the public to beware of fraudsters, who come in different guises to deceive unsuspecting people into accepting all manner of offers abroad.
He said the service under his watch would continue to ensure enhanced border security and migration management to discourage irregular migration.
The CG called on the public to continue to offer useful pieces of information to the service to further strengthen the fight against cross-border crimes, while the 189 victims have been handed over to officials of the Lagos Zonal Office of NAPTIP for further necessary processes.