Yenagoa—Officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Bayelsa State Command, have uncovered a new trick used by human traffickers in the state.
The Command stated that the discovery is the result of a directive from the Comptroller General of Immigration Service Isa Jere Idris, MFR to heads of Commands and special formations of the Service towards the end of the year to ensure water-tight border control and management.
In a statement by SI Ibiemo Cookey, Command Public Relations Officer, the Command averred that a victim, one Miss Maureen Ekpe was stopped and denied facility after a thorough investigation, while the purported trafficker is at large and the victim was released to her family with a warning.
The statement reads in part:
“The Bayelsa State Command headed by Comptroller James Sunday, PCC in a proactive and improved investigative strategy has uncovered the newly adopted ways used by human traffickers to evade security checks and avoid suspicion by using the ECOWAS Travel Certificate (ETC) as a travel document to transport their victims to any of the ECOWAS member states to evade stringent checks at the airport and lower the level of suspicion in view of the limitation of countries the document is valid for travel.
“The Command noticed a sudden increase in the rate at which young people patronized the ECOWAS Travel Certificate and did a risk analysis and a checklist of the age group that goes for it.
“The ECOWAS Unit was tasked to add an additional security document to the requirement, called the Suspicious Travel Interrogation Form which was zeroed down to any suspected case and has yielded results.
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“So far, it has helped in rescuing two victims by denying them the facility and denying several others without genuine reasons after due diligent interrogation.
“In one of the cases, the trafficker who is at large after the victim was stopped prompted our alert system and gave the Command the idea behind the increased demand for the document against the conventional passport.”
The immigration while stating that it will not rest until the syndicates are exposed called on parents and guardians to desist from releasing their wards/children to people with hidden identities or motives.
They also advised them to verify the kind of work they are to be employed for and report any suspicious move to take their wards/children outside the country for unconfirmed work and mouth-watering plans.
“All cases being investigated will be concluded before New Year for onward report to the Service Headquarters, Abuja, while the command steps up its strategies, officers and men are warned to avoid being accomplices in any way,” the Command said.