Capie Fagé, a Cameroonian, who specializes in human trafficking has been arrested by The Nigerian Immigration Service, Zone A for allegedly attempting to traffic four Nigerian women to Cameroon.
The Assistant Comptroller General in charge of the zone, Mr. Joseph Olaitan, told PUNCH Metro that Fagé and the ladies were arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the ladies, Blessing Okunbor, Trinity Imuen, Elizabeth Erabor and Happy Idahosa; were between the ages of 21 and 23.
Olaitan told our correspondent that the women could not explain what they were going to do in Cameroon at the time of their arrest.
He warned Nigerians, especially youths, not to be too desperate to leave the country so as not to fall victims to traffickers.
He said, “The ladies are from Edo State and we suspect Capie (Fagé) wanted to traffic them. Immigration has been seriously concerned with human trafficking because apart from being against domestic and international law, it gives the country a bad image.”
Olaitan said the suspects would be handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters for further investigation.
The ladies, however, denied being trafficked, adding that they were travelling to Cameroon to visit a friend.
Imuen said, “I am doing computer training in Benin. The person I wanted to visit in Cameroon is my friend. She used to live in Benin as well, but relocated five years ago. I don’t know the work she does in Cameroon. It was my intention to visit her and I decided to take three of my friends along.
“We got our passports, but on getting to the airport on November 20, we did not know how to book plane tickets. So we approached the Cameroonian and gave him the money and he told us to come back some days later.
“On November 25, we went to collect our tickets from him, and while we were filling out our forms, immigration men arrested us.”
Another victim, Erabor, said she was a university admission seeker and had planned to return on December 15.
“We only wanted to go and visit Imuen’s friend. We don’t know anybody else in Cameroon and we didn’t plan on relocating there,” she said.
The Cameroonian, who also denied being a trafficker, said he had a valid passport.
He said he had been in Nigeria for two months and usually comes in to purchase shoes, which he sells in his country.
Zonal Coordinator, NAPTIP, Lagos, Mr. Joseph Famakin, told our correspondent that investigations were ongoing.
Famakin said the ladies were not suspects, but considered as victims.
“The fact that they are not teenagers does not mean they cannot be trafficked. As long as the means through which they were lured abroad was deceitful or forceful, it could be considered as trafficking.
He said, “Also, Cameroon may not have been their final destination. All this will be unravelled in the course of investigation.”