It came as a shock to many people when CNN reported that some Libyans were involved in the slave trade of other Africans. What makes this report more heartbreaking is that some Nigerians in Libya are also into the dehumanising business.
“No brother in the jungle,” was what these Nigerians told their fellow country men who approached them for help.
Esosa Osas, a 25-year-old woman, who was in Libya for six months, confirmed that she met many Nigerians selling their countrymen.
“You dare not talk to them, else they would beat you and lock you up. They sell women for 5,000 dinars and men for N4, 000 dinars. I noticed that the connection houses were also controlled by Nigerian women,” she said.
In fact, the Nigerians in the slave trade business were said to be “more wicked than many of the Arabs.”
Another returnee, 26-year-old Odion Saliu, was an hairdresser from Edo State, but was kidnapped and handed over to a Nigerian, who forced her to call her mother.
She explained that her mother in Benin paid N200, 000 but she was again sold by the same Nigerian for 3,000 dinars (about N794, 000).
According to her, the Nigerians spoke Pidgin English and some Nigerian languages.
When I was kidnapped with others and held for some weeks, the Arabs asked if I wanted to be taken to a Nigerian and I readily said yes. I was very happy that I was going to someone from my country. But it was a lie.
The Nigerian they took me to locked me in a cell and told me to call my mother and ask for N60, 000. The man said he would sell me to a connection house if my family did not get the money. I called to inform my mother and the trafficker who facilitated my journey from Nigeria.
But the trafficker spoke with them on the phone and told them the amount they demanded was too small. They increased it to N200, 000. My mother paid into an account after they provided her with the account number over the phone.
The Nigerian said if I wanted to cross the sea, I had to pay him again. But when we got to the seaside, he sold me again.
Another returnee explained that “Nigerians and Libyans are doing the business like they are one big happy family.”
Meanwhile, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Head of African Union Commission, revealed that over 400,000 Nigerians and others remain stranded in Libya.
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