Arrangements have been concluded by the Katsina State government for the return of 24 victims of human trafficking from the state who were sold into slavery in Benin Republic and taken to Burkina Faso.
The state government disclosed yesterday that they would return to Katsina today.
The director-general on Media and Publicity to the governor, Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, who revealed this in a statement he issued yesterday, said that seven of the 31 victims had earlier been assisted to return to Nigeria by the Nigerian Embassy in Burkina Faso.
Malumfashi said that the seven victims were already in Katsina, stressing that “contrary to the news making the rounds in the social and new media, the 31 Katsina State indigenes were not kidnapped but tricked and sold into slavery in Benin Republic to a Beninoise lady by one Alhaji Usman from Kankara Town, now at large, but whose mobile phone numbers are in the possession of security and other government officials.
“The Benin (Republic) lady thereafter took her ‘slaves’ to Gaoua, a town 150 kilometres from Ouagadougou, the Burkina Faso capital, where she kept them in servitude without food or money. The lady has been apprehended by the local authorities in Gaoua,” he said.
The governor’s aide said that the remaining 24 victims were due to arrive in Katsina today, where Governor Aminu Bello Masari would receive them in the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari House.
According to him, “their release was facilitated by the Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Hajiya Rahmatu Ahmed, who contacted and informed the Katsina State government about the plight of the trafficked victims, currently under the care of the chief of the Hausa community in Ouagadougou.
“On receiving the information, Governor Masari dispatched the special adviser on Drugs, Narcotics and Trafficking, Alhaji Hamza Brodo, with a 30-seater luxury bus to Ouagadougou to bring back the remaining 24 victims,” he said.