National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has contacted Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with information that human trafficking syndicates want to use the World Cup as a platform to illegally transport people to Russia.
NAPTIP director-general, Julie Okah-Donli said at a briefing in Abuja that the agency has formally written to the NFF and ministry of sports about the development.
The NAPTIP chief urged the NFF to tacke decisive and prompt action over the report, then go on to ensure that only accredited delegates and officials make the Russian contingent.
Okah-Donli further said Russia is one of the countries where many trafficked Nigerians are stranded and seeking assistance to return home.
She added: “It has come to the knowledge of the agency that some dishonest persons and networks of human traffickers have concluded plans to use the forthcoming World Cup to recruit and traffic Nigerian youths out of the country.
“Their plot is to set up unregistered football supporters’ clubs, unofficial government delegations as well as unrecognised youth bodies to collect huge money from desperate youths and ferry them out of the country in the name of the World Cup.
“A case is a girl from the South-South who has been contacted by a Moscow-based trafficker that she would be airlifted on June 5 and should pay a huge sum of money.
“Our operatives in Moscow are closing in on the suspect. Russia is one of places with high incidence of human trafficking and many Nigerian victims are held up and seeking assistance to return home.
“We have already made efforts to reach the Minister of Sports and Youth Development and we plan to ensure a World Cup free of human trafficking of Nigerian nationals.”