Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Buhari to urgently probe the Ministry of Labour and Employment under Chris Ngige’s supervision for aiding human trafficking.
Akande-Sadipe said the federal government should probe the ministry for illegally issuing intentional recruiters licences which have paved the way for trafficking of Nigerians.
She pointed out that Ngige’s ministry has violated the law and has continued to issue International Recruiters Licenses to Agents, despite the Federal Government’s 2017 moratorium.
Speaking on Monday while responding to questions from journalists, the lawmaker said her call was aimed at putting a stop to the exploitation of Nigerians abroad.
In a statement by her spokesman, Olamilekan Olusada, Akande-Sadipe appealed to Buhari to initiate an executive investigation into the activities of the Labour and Productivity ministry.
She lamented that Nigeria has no Bilateral Labour Agreement with any nation and 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 noted that many nations in the Middle East and even within Africa were violating the rights of our citizens under the guise of domestic servitude.
The Oluyole Federal Constituency Representative said eighty thousand Nigerian girls are currently held as sex slaves, and forced labourers in Mali, across Middle East Nations, with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia UAE and Oman topping the list.
She added: “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 6 months 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 these agents lie to the ladies about the jobs waiting for them in foreign lands, urging Nigerians to move away from the perception that the girls left these shores to prostitute.
She, however, decried the Minister of Labour and Employment’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 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”, she added.
“The Ministry did not conduct the mandatory pre-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.
She further stated that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. 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.