Nigeria is winning war against human trafficking, with the arrest of six suspects allegedly trafficking Nigerian girls to Mali, just as 41 girls, who were victims of the 41 Nigerian Girls Evacuated From Mali were evacuated back home from Bamako on Monday.
The suspects, comprising males and females, have been handed over to security operatives for prosecution.
This is the first time that the government is succeeding in arresting sponsors of the traffickers.
The victims, who were deceived into travelling out of the country were taken through different routes to Mali, where they hoped to connect Europe.
The girls, who are teenagers arrived Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos aboard a Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Military Transport Aircraft Hercules C130 with the registration number 913 at 7.25 p.m.
On arrival, the girls were driven to the Hajj and Cargo Terminal of the airport where they were profiled by the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
They were originally scheduled to arrive Nigeria on Sunday night, but were later shifted forward for another 24 hours by the Nigerian authorities.
Officials of the National Agency for Protection and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) were on ground to receive the girls back home.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and other officials were on hand to receive the girls who came with tales of woes.
Some of the girls, it was gathered, had been in detention camps in Mali for some months before they returned to Nigeria while some are still in Mali.
Dabiri-Erewa in an interview with journalists, said the evacuation of the girls was made possible with assistance from the Chief of Defence Staff, Nigerian Air Force, NAPTIP and relevant agencies of government.
According to her, the evacuation of the girls was part of the directives from President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigerians stranded anywhere in the world should be assisted to return home.
Erewa urged the returnees to make the best use of their lives as there was nothing tangible they were doing in Mali.
She said there were many Nigerians, who were stranded in Mali and should be brought home.
She said that prior to their evacuation, NAPTIP officials had travelled to Mali for documentation and other logistics to ease the return of the girls.
“NAPTIP will rehabilitate them; we have begun profiling of the girls and we call on non-governmental organisations to join us in tackling this problem.
“They were deceived into embarking on the journey; we will ensure we train them to the state of proficiency in different vocations, after which we will trace their parents and counsel them,” the presidential aide said.
She said that her office would monitor the girls for two years, so they do not sell the vocational equipment given to them.
“It goes beyond poverty for them to embark on such mission.
“Government had to rescue them because they sent a distress call; this made Buhari to direct the service chiefs to wade into the matter to rescue the girls”.
One of girls, who spoke with journalists, Miss Gift Peters, lamented that many Nigerians, especially ladies were still in different detention camps and jails in Libya for offences they knew nothing about.
Peters said that she was lured into travelling to Europe through Libya by an unknown person, whom she said is at large at the moment.
It would be recalled that 171 Nigerians, mostly females were returned into the country last week Tuesday from Libya.
By Our Correspondent