The ministry of sports has directed officials of Nigerian Football Supporters Club and other delegations wishing to travel for this year’s World Cup to submit to National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) their lists of all members that are billed to be in Russia.
Head of press and public relations in the ministry, Mr Vincent Adekoye said the directive is in furtherance of last week’s meeting the minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung held with director-general of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli and officials of Russia’s embassy in Abuja.
NAPTIP’s spokesperson, Mrs Stella Nezan also disclosed in a statement that the step will be taken in order to forestall any incidence of human trafficking.
She said officials of the embassy of Russia in Nigeria were also part of the meeting, and added: “To this end, all members of the Nigeria Supporters Club, large delegation and other organized bodies are to submit the list of members traveling to Russia to NAPTIP for screening, after which a clearance certificate will be issued to enable them travel out of the country for the soccer fiesta.”
NAPTIP had on May 28, in a news conference alerted the general public on plans by human traffickers to use the upcoming World Cup to traffic Nigerian youths.
Okah-Donli explained that part of the plot was to float unregistered football supporters club, unofficial government delegation, as well as unregistered youth bodies.
She said they planned to use these platforms to collect huge sums of money from some desperate youths, with the promise to ferry them out of Nigeria using the World Cup tournament as a ploy.
According to the tip, the traffickers in collusion with their collaborators at the destination countries, have also arranged with their cohorts in Europe to facilitate the defection of the victims out of Moscow.
“Already these traffickers have continued to mount pressure on some youths and their parents forcing them to part with huge sums of money in exchange for Russian visa.
“One of such cases at hand is that of a girl from one of the states in the South-South part of the country.
“She reported that a Moscow-based trafficker has continued to pressure her through her parents in order to traffic her. The trafficker has concluded plans to airlift her on or before June 5, 2018,” she explained.
Okah-Donli said that the agency’s detectives were already on the trail of the said parents, while the sister operatives in Moscow were handling the traffickers.
She warned parents to beware of persons coming to them to give out their children to be taken abroad within this period, adding that yielding to undue pressure and deceit would send such children to their early grave.
“Russia is a country with high incidence of human trafficking and many Nigerian victims of human trafficking are held up there, and now seeking assistance to return home.
“Stories from victims of human trafficking rescued by NAPTIP from Russia in the past are full of pains and agonies, with few of such victims permanently incapacitated for the rest of their lives,’’ she said.