The Nigeria Immigration Service, Katsina State Command has arrested a Libyan-based salon operator, Mrs Asia Rita, for alleged human trafficking.
The 44-year-old mother of three was paraded by the immigration service on Monday alongside seven suspected victims of human trafficking.
The suspect and her victims were reportedly intercepted by NIS operatives at the Jibia Magama control post while on their way to Libya where Rita is said to be operating a salon and food joint.
The NIS Comptroller, Katsina Command, Mr Olusola Ajisafe, who briefed journalists on the incident, said three of the rescued victims were from Oyo State, two from Lagos, while the others were from Bayelsa and Ogun states respectively.
He put their ages at between 11 and 44.
Ajisafe further explained that despite the fact that the rescued victims were not from the same state, they all obtained their travelling documents in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
He said, “It may interest you to know that the suspected trafficker, Mrs Asia Rita, is in possession of residence visa of the State of Libya, and her passport indicated that she is a frequent traveller.
“It may also interest you, gentlemen of the press, to know that from July 17, 2018 till date, the command has intercepted two suspected traffickers and rescued 18 suspected victims of human trafficking.”
He added that Rita and the victims would be handed over to the NIS headquarters in Abuja “for further interrogation.”
Rita, in an interview, however said she was in Nigeria to take her three children, adding that she had been living in Libya for nine years.
She denied knowing the rescued victims.
She said, “I stay in Libya where I operate a salon and sell food. At a point, I was working in a hospital in Libya.”
In a similar development, the NIS has also arrested a Nigerien, Mohammed Kabir, for allegedly being in possession of ‘high grade cannabis’.
Kabir was reportedly arrested by NIS operatives who were on a routine patrol along Babbar Ruga while trying to cross the Nigerian border to Niger Republic through an illegal route.
Ajisafe said Kabir would be handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for further action.
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