Curbing Human Trafficking Through Intelligence Gathering in Nigeria



Globally acknowledged as a high-profit but low-risk criminal activity, human trafficking has unfortunately gained attention as the modern-day form of slavery that is expanding in scale with damaging repercussions on humanity and nations’ economic lives.

And going by the definition that; “Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit”, it is currently ranked among the fastest growing criminal activities across the globe, comparable to the smuggling of firearms that is considered the second most organized criminal network worldwide.

In recent times, with different interpretations by national governments and experts in criminology, human trafficking has generated a great deal of concerns among stakeholders because of its adverse impact on social lives and the human race.

The threat is becoming more alarming in Nigeria with sordid tales by returnees from Libya and Italy among other foreign countries. Unfortunately, men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds have become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world.

And being a transnational crime that is fast ruining the country’s image within the African continent and beyond, this criminal activity has continued to degrade and dehumanise the victims; fuel public sector corruption and irregular migration; aid the spread of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases while also promoting money laundering and other financial crimes that clearly distort the nation’s economy.

Regrettably, parents and guardians have become too busy and sometimes so uncaring to effectively monitor the activities of their children and wards or even notice the glaring antics and pranks that are obviously risk-infested and portend danger to themselves and the immediate family.

A situation where children, teenagers, youths and even adults, embark on irrelevant expeditions, secret trips and visits without, but sometimes with, the knowledge of their parents or other family members have been identified as one of the major risk factors that have made many vulnerable while exposing them and their loved ones to avoidable hurt.

Painfully, in their overzealousness, many have deliberately ignored the security tips and public advisory regularly issued by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other law enforcement agencies that urge caution by members of the public, specifically applicants to always guard against falling prey to so-called juicy jobs’ adverts that do not contain comprehensive information on location, specifications and schedules; shun the temptation of subscribing to vague visas and overseas travel promotions that could be the handiwork of human traffickers and scammers or their agents.

Importantly too, verifying information before acting on any calls about untoward incidents involving family members, colleagues, relatives or friends cannot be overstressed; just as the need to careful visiting new friends or meeting colleagues at unfamiliar or unspecified locations; and restraint in dishing out and advertising vital personal information on social media platforms.

Similarly, stories are abound where some individuals have inadvertently exposed themselves to danger by standing in as guarantors and sureties for people who may have changed over time, thereby becoming agents that aid and abet the criminal activities of society’s bad eggs.

Given the sophistication, secrecy and ‘value chain’ in organised crime which human trafficking has evidently become, synergy among security and law enforcement agencies as well as partnership with the public cannot be overemphasized. However, making the matter a bit more complicated is the fact that some unscrupulous elements within the security agencies and even greedy parents and relations are supportive and in cohort with those perpetuating this criminal activity across the country.

With the way things are going globally, adopting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to combat human trafficking should also be the way to go by the Nigerian authorities. Though no technology can be termed perfect or full proof, there is no denying the fact that with conscious efforts, any technology, would over time, evolve with improvement to make it more relevant and responsive in tackling existing as well as emerging challenges associated with this modern day ‘slave trade’ and other related crimes.

Pointedly, security agencies like the DSS have not relented in their collaboration with relevant government establishments to give human trafficking syndicates tough times running their criminal activities. In January this year, the Service was on hand assisting NAPTIP to rescue a Burundian woman and her three children from traffickers in Umunoha village, Mbaitoli Council of Imo State where they were being held captive and exploited.

The victims were rescued during a sting operation carried out on their holding mud house by the combined team of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Department of State Services (DSS). Thanks to a tipoff by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the four foreigners duly regained their freedom from where they were cramped under inhuman conditions.

Without making much fuss about it in the public domain, the Service has continued to play active part in bursting child trafficking syndicates across the country with its various State Commands recording huge success in stemming the tide of their criminal activities.

Recalled an incident on July 6, 2015 where four suspects were arrested and the victims, comprising 12 males and 24 females, rescued from homes in Yenagoa and Kaiama in Bayelsa, Port Harcourt, and Enugu-Agidi in Anambra, having been forcefully turned into house helps.

As indicated in their public advisory, most disturbing is the fact that the suspected syndicates sometimes operate under the guise of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that usually approach parents and convinced them to release their wards under the pretext of assisting the children to acquire good education only for such kids to end up as house helps and sometimes worst as sex slaves.

Forward looking, it is important to support the position canvassed by many well-meaning individuals and groups that human trafficking offenders and perpetrators should serve sentences commensurable with the magnitude of offences committed to send the appropriate message as a major deterrent to culprits.

Concerns have also arisen that a situation where some offenders often escape justice with light sentencing has led to cases of repeat offenders now posing a grave danger to the dimension of human trafficking in the Country.

Therefore, continuous citizens’ sensitization and awareness creation on how to curb the menace are very crucial. This is against the backdrop that the inherent fear of reprisals cannot be ignored since many victims and their families are afraid to come forward and incident cases, amid the limited enforcement resources and shifting legislation coherent enough to address this thriving crime.

Hammering on the need for continuous enlightenment and sensitisation in the local communities nationwide, one DSS official said; “There is need therefore for members of the public to be sensitized on the need to be circumspect in the way they give out children or take in children from such unscrupulous modern day slave traders.”

Certainly, these routes are the way to go in effectively addressing operational and other existing challenges in the fight against human trafficking.

On the whole, relevant government establishments like NAPTIP, security and law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and Intelligence Community, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and traditional institutions as well as international bodies must embrace and deploy robust partnership as a strategy to check and eventually suppress the crime of human trafficking in the country.

With subdued optimism, this collaboration should help calm the frayed nerves and broken spirit of most victims, always left in a pitiable traumatic state to nurse wounds inflicted on them by heartless and exploitative traffickers, who often are erroneously or unintentionally pampered with light sentencing by the courts.

So the ball is in the court of judicial officers to compliment the works of security and related agencies by always considering the victims’ plight and exploitation in deciding cases of human trafficking rather than over relying on the salient technicalities that often deny them adequate justice.

​FG Reintroduces COVID-19 Restrictions, Limits Public Gatherings, others

The Federal Government has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This new directive is to take effect by midnight of Tuesday, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, declared.

Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday in Abuja.

With the restrictions imposed, mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time.

Access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.

According to Mohammed, the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide curfew will be in force until further notice.

He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to.

The PSC member, however, stated that there was no limitation to intra-state travel.
Source: Channels Television

​Bandits abduct 40 Muslim worshippers observing Tahajjud in Katsina

No fewer than 40 Muslim worshippers were abducted by armed bandits while observing Tahajjud, a kind of midnight prayer observed during the Holy Month of Ramadan, at a mosque in Jibiya town of Katsina State. 

Residents of the town told DAILY NIGERIAN that dozens of gunmen struck at the mosque around 2am on Monday and took away the worshippers. 

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that the kidnappers initially picked 47 congregants, including women and children, but seven later returned.

 “So far we established 40 people missing after the attack,” said a resident who preferred not to be named. Another resident who volunteered statement, Lawal Jibiya, said neighboring villagers alerted them about the impending attack, after sighting the movements of the bandits heading towards the town. 

He said hundreds of youth and local vigilante group in the town were on alert and ready to confront the bandits, but the assailants changed their route and entered the town from the western entry point. 

“We were expecting them from the eastern entry point through Daddara, Kukar Babangida or Magama but this time they proceeded beyond the town and camped at Jibawa. 

“From Jibawa they then went round to the western entry point near Yunusa Dantauri Hospital and attacked a mosque on the outskirt of the town,” the witness said. 

According to him, the bandits did not fire a single shot until they finished the operation. 

Jibiya, a Nigeria-Niger border town, is one of the major targets of kidnapping and banditry activities. 

Source: Kogiflame

​Abubakar Shekau, 85 others top list of Army most wanted terrorists

The Commandant, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Farouk Yahaya, on Wednesday, declared Abubakar Shekau and 85 other terrorists most wanted in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Army last night released a list of 86 persons wanted in connection with an act of terrorism. Those on the list are alleged to be members of the Boko Haram sect.

Among those on the list are Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abu Musa Al Barnawi, Modu Sulum, Malkam Umar, Bello Husba, Yan Kolo, Ibrahim Abu Maryam, Baka Kwasari, Bana Gonna, Mohammed Abu Maryam, Abu Imma, and Abu Dardda.

The list was released by Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, alongside Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State, at the Nigerian Army Super Camp, Chabbal in Konduga local government area of Borno.

“Identifying the enclaves of the terrorists as they move from one location to another is useful. The counter-insurgency fight should not be left to the military alone,” Tukur Buratai, said at the inauguration of the civilian joint task force into the Operation Lafia Doyle formation in Maiduguri.

Lagos sends 23 police officers on trial for murder, brutality, others

Twenty three police officers are currently facing trial in Lagos State for various acts of brutality including murder, manslaughter and causing grievious bodily harm, according to the state government.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Friday that the state government had commenced “the work of rebuilding Lagos and ending police brutality.”

Sanwo-Olu said on Twitter that the prosecutions were to “show our commitment” to the fight against violation of human rights in the state.
Facing trial are:Inspector Surulere Irede, Sgt. Sunday Ogunyemi and Corp. 

Hezekiah Babatunde all of them for manslaughter;Ogunyemi Olalekan for murder; Sgt. Gbanwuan Isaac for causing grievous bodily harm;Aminu Joseph for murder;Sgt.Alechenu Benedict for armed robbery;Sgt.Adebayo Abdulahi for involuntary manslaughter ;and Inspector A.Mohammed for armed robbery.

The rest include Matthew Ohansi for murder;Sgt.Segun Okun and Captain Adekunle Oluwarotimi for manslaughter and attempted murder;Adamu Dare for murder; Sgt.Mark Argo and 5 others for conspiracy and armed robbery;Corporal Pepple Boma for manslaughter; and Inspector Emmanuel Akpodana for attempted murder.

The others are: Emmanuel Uyankweke for manslaughter; Akanbi Lukmon for involuntary manslaughter; and Edokhe Omokhide for murder.

The state government has also filed murder charges against Afolabi Saka and Monday Gabriel while Yahya Adeshina and Aremu Museliu are to be charged with involuntary manslaughter and murder respectively.

In a separate statement on the matter,Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) asked the public to “keep track of our on-going diligent prosecution of these matters in the overall public interest.”

NSCDC officer allegedly manhandles NTA staff over refusal to pay bribe

An officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Akwa Ibom State has beaten up and inflicted injuries on a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), in Uyo, Mr Imo Etimudo for alleged bribery refusal.

It was gathered that Etimudo, was manhandled by the NSCDC officers allegedly on the orders of staff of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), identified as Mr Joseph Umoh.

The NTA staff said Umoh on Saturday led the PHEDC team to the estate where he lives to disconnect consumers who have not paid their electricity bills.

Narrating his ordeal to newsmen in Uyo, he said, ”the PHEDC team came to where I live at Anniversary Estate along Idoro road in Uyo. We have not had electricity in the estate for over a year now.

”On Saturday they came and knocked at my gate and I opened for them. They demanded my electricity bill and I told them I don’t have it because we have not had light for over a year and that that may be why they don’t give us bills.

”They said okay that I should give them money and I asked them what the money they were demanding was for. They replied that their ‘oga’ said I should find them something so I went out to see their ‘oga’.

”As I soon I went to see their boss they dropped my wires. At that point, I demanded to know why they dropped the wire since we have not enjoyed the electricity supply for a very long time.

”They said they are disconnecting me and going with my wires because I refused to give them money. I insisted they can’t go with the wires after disconnecting me. I tried to stop them from taking the wires.

”I wasn’t the only person affected. The branch manager of Keystone Bank lives here too. They met him in person and demanded money from him. The man refused to give them money and they also brought down his wire.

”I tried reaching the State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to intervene but he said he was indisposed so I decided to drive out in my car to seek help.

”On my way out I was blocked by NSCDC and the PHEDC officials who attacked and beat me up and inflicted serious injuries on my head and back”.

However, the state leadership of the NUJ told newsmen on Sunday evening that the State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Samuel Fadeyi has scheduled a meeting today (Monday) with the State Chairman of the union, Comrade Amos Etuk to address the matter.

ISWAP fighters ambush Borno gov’s convoy, kill 15 security personnel

Jihadist fighters linked to the Islamic State group on Friday killed 15 security personnel in an ambush on the convoy of the Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, three security said.

Sources told AFP that eight policemen, three soldiers and four members of a government-backed militia were killed in the attack on vehicles carrying Zulum near the town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.

The insurgents opened fire with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades as the convoy was passing through a village close to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), a military coalition of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

“The governor escaped unhurt but 15 security men on the convoy were killed in fierce battle with the terrorists”, one source said.

Zulum was on an assessment tour of Baga in preparation for the return of thousands of residents displaced from the town by the jihadists in 2014, the sources said.

The governor flew on a helicopter into the garrison town of Monguno, 60 kilometres (40 miles) away, and headed to Baga in a convoy under tight security, one of the sources said.

All three sources were talking on condition of anonymity.

The IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group maintains most of its camps on islands in Lake Chad and the region is known as a bastion for the jihadists.

The militant group has recently intensified attacks on military and civilian targets in the region.

In July Zulum’s convoy came under gun attack from ISWAP outside Baga, forcing him to cancel his trip to the town.

Last week the group killed a Nigerian army commander along with three soldiers in an ambush near the town of Damboa.

Civilians plying highway linking Monguno and the regional capital Maiduguri said the jihadists set up daily checkpoints, robbing, killing and abducting passengers.

The decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed 36,000 people and forced over 2 million from their homes.

Most of the displaced have been housed into squalid camps where they depend on food handouts from international charities.

Local authorities have been encouraging the displaced to go back to the homes despite concern from aid agencies of the security risks to which the returnees would be exposed.

Last week Zulum said feeding the displaced was not financially sustainable, insisting the only option was for them to return and rebuild their homes and live a “dignified” life.

ISWAP splintered from the main Boko Haram group in 2016 and has gone on to be the dominant insurgent force in the region.

Ekiti Pupil Hacks Schoolmate to Death After Juju Contest

A 17-year-old secondary pupil, Kehinde Timilehin, has killed a schoolmate, Favour Matthew, 16, after engaging in a contest to test their juju.

The two pupils of Ado Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti were said to have engaged each other in a juju contest after which Matthew, a Senior Secondary School 2 pupil, reportedly went home to bring an axe to attack Timilehin.

Sources said Timilehin, who was in SSS 3, overpowered Matthew, collected the axe and struck him in the chest, leaving him in a pool of blood.

Matthew was rushed to the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, where he died.

In the wake of Mathew’s death, the Ebira community along Ado-Federal Polytechnic Road reportedly threatened a reprisal against the Yoruba community in the area.

Consequently, parents of pupils of the school did not allow their wards to attend the school on Friday. It was learnt that the few pupils who showed up in the school were turned back at the gate.

Policemen were deployed in the neighbourhood to prevent a breakdown of law and order while a police van was stationed at the school gate.

The school principal, Mr. Ebenezer Falayi, and the vice principal, Mr. Olurotimi Olaoluwa, explained that the incident occurred around 2.15pm after closing hours.

Falayi said, “This incident really saddened us because it was avoidable. What I gathered from students who were at the spot was that the two were arguing over who had superior power and the deceased had earlier gone home to bring weapons, which did not have any effect on the suspect when used on him.

“I was told that the suspect later overpowered the victim and struck him in the chest with the weapon. Our teachers, including me, the vice principal and registrar who reside in the school rushed him to EKSUTH. We even took the suspect along.

“The victim was put on life support, but that could not help the situation. He died in the hospital. I had to quickly call the Divisional Police Officer of the Odo-Ado Police Station who deployed his men in the area. We also contacted the police station at Oke Ila, Ado-Ekiti, to prevent the suspect from being killed by highly enraged family members of the deceased.

“The hospital insisted on conducting an autopsy before releasing the corpse, but the family resisted it. The corpse was later released to the family when it nearly led a crisis in the hospital.


Court Jails Man for Stealing Milk

Agency Report

A Karmo Grade I Area Court, Abuja, has sentenced a labourer to two months in prison for stealing one roll of sachet Cowbell powdered milk, a carton of Vaseline Blue Seal and one crate of eggs.

The judge, Alhaji Inuwa Maiwada, found Abdulahi Danjuma of no fixed address guilty of house breaking and theft.

Maiwada, however gave the convict an option to pay a fine of N5, 000 while warning him to desist from committing crime.

The judge ordered that the milk be returned to the owner.

The prosecutor, Mrs Ukagha Ijeoma, told the court that two traders Israel Abraham and Mohammed Sani all of NNPC Quarters Life Camp, Abuja, reported the matter at the Life Camp Police Station on December 3.

The prosecutor, told the court that the convict broke into Sani’s shop and stole a carton of Vaseline Blue Seal, one roll of Cowbell powder milk, and one crate of egg all valued N5, 000.

Ijeoma said that the convict was apprehended and handed over to the police immediately.

She said that during police investigation and interrogation, the convict admitted to committing the offence and one roll of powder milk was recovered from him.

The prosecutor said the offence contravened sections 354 and 287 of the Penal Code.

The convict pleaded guilty to the charges and begged court for leniency.

Ijeoma, therefore, urged the court to invoke Section 347 of the Administration of Criminal Justices Act, 2015 on summary trial.