• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Travel agencies responsible for migration of Nigerian ladies to Lebanon – Envoy

Travel agencies responsible for migration of Nigerian ladies to Lebanon – Envoy

The Ambassador of Lebanon to Nigeria, Houssam Diab, has said that about 90 percent of travelling agencies owned and operated by Nigerians are responsible for the migration of Nigerian ladies to Lebanon to be used as domestic workers.

The envoy disclosed this on Friday while briefing Geoffery Onyeama, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the repatriation of over 500 mostly Nigerian girls stranded in his country.

He dismissed the insinuation in certain quarters that well-organised and powerful human trafficking networks were responsible for the embarrassing migration of Nigerian ladies to Lebanon.

The envoy explained the measures put in place by the Lebanese government to stop migration of female domestic workers from Nigeria, which include ban on issuance of visas, stressing that these ladies enter Lebanon legally.

“As of 1st of May this year, Lebanese authorities have stopped issuance of visas to domestic workers, especially ladies from Nigeria. This will definitely stop any new case from arising, they will not be able to get into Lebanon, but there is specificity in this issue because all these girls are entering the country legally,” Diab said.

“So there is no smuggling or human trafficking as being insinuated. It is not a question of trafficking and illegal entry. There are travelling agencies facilitating these movements legally and 90 percent of the agencies are owned and operated by Nigerians.

“They apply through the security channels to get a work visa and work permit for these ladies. So by stopping the issuance of visas we should have stopped the problem, as well as stop new cases from arising.

He said the work now is on Nigerian side, calling on relevant government agencies to stop these agencies from recruiting these ladies for domestic work.

“We had done our part by stopping the issuance of work visas for domestic staff from Nigeria, so Nigeria needs to tidy its own end,” he said.

On question about evacuating only 500 instead of the 5,000 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon, the Lebanese ambassador said that such information is incorrect.

“There is an estimated 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon and it is not all of them that are stranded. So we must be careful with some of this statistics, a lot of Nigerians in Lebanon have good jobs and are earning good salaries. We don’t want anything to happen to this category of Nigerians. The numbers of the stranded are the ones that had returned with the 200 that will return soon.

“The economic situation in Lebanon is very bad now and that is why these issues are coming up because some of the employers are no longer able to pay their workers promptly.

“This inability to pay workers as and when due led to their inability to return to Nigeria and that is where the embassy and Lebanese community stepped in to facilitate their return,” he said.

He, however, noted that the issue of abuse of foreign nationals in Lebanon, particularly Nigerians as being portrayed in the social media, is not true, even as he advised caution on social media posts as most of them are fake.

In his remarks, Onyeama lauded the Lebanese authorities and Lebanese community in Nigeria for facilitating the return of the ladies.

He, however, expressed concerns over the trending videos on social media depicting horrible treatments to these Nigerian ladies.

“Here in Nigeria we have seen number of videos of cry for help and all kind of stories, some of them horror stories about conditions of these Nigerians. This has raised concerns and consternation from Nigeria and Nigerians.

“You and I had met a number of times on this same issue and even the parliament has also invited you on the issue. So that shows you the concern of Nigerians,” Onyeama said.

He acknowledged that Nigeria and Lebanon have a long history of doing business and living together in peace, saying “we cannot condemn the whole country because of irresponsible behaviour of few citizens”.