Trafficking: Lebanese Embassy Suspends Issuance of Working Visas to Nigerisns, Rescues 69 From Lebanon

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The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria,Houssam Diab,
says that the Embassy has suspended issuing working visas to Nigerians seeking domestic work in Lebanon,sequel to influx of some Nigerians traveling to Lebanon to work.

This is contained in a release issued by Abdur-Rahman Balogun,
Head, Media and PublicRelations Unit,NIDCOM, Abuja on Thursday.

The ambasdador made the disclosure when the Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa, visited him in his office, Abuja on Thursday.

Amb. Diab stated that the suspension came into effect May 1,following the video of Peace Busari, a Nigerian lady auctioned by a non-Lebanese person on Social media in April this year, went viral.

He said the suspension was to stem the tide for such categories of workers, pending the time the procedure would be properly harmonised with the Ministry of Labour modalities.

The ambassador said the Lebanese government, in conjunction with the Lebanese community in Nigeria, had brought back 69 out of 79 Nigerians allegedly stranded and abused by their bosses back to the country.

He explained that the remaining 10 Nigerians, who would be transported home soon after the Covid-19 lockdown, had some cases to answer and would be repatriated home once they were through with their cases.

Diab clarified that the Embassy and the Lebanese community paid over $150,000 USD to evacuate the 69 Nigerians and also paid for their 14 days quarantine, adding that they were not trafficked nor went to Lebanon illegally.

According to him,they were abused by their employers who also breached the working agreement and did not have money to bring them back.

The Ambassador note that some of them did not want to come back to Nigeria, despite their challenges, but preferred to change their work place to be able to pay up their agents who facilitated their coming.

Earlier, Hon. Dabiri-Erewa who told the ambassador that she was in his office to know when the remaining 10 Nigerians would be brought back into the country to start a new life, stressed the need for some level of awareness.

She said the Commission was working out an arrangement with the Ministry of Labour to model it after the phillippines’ working scheme where verification and certification must be provided between agents, employers and prospective employees to prevent further unfortunate cases.

The NIDCOM boss added that a platform should be available for aggrieved domestic staff to lay complaints, legally.

She commended the Ambassador for his assistance, especially in evacuating 69 Nigerians and the safe release of the Nigerian lady who was advertised for sale on social media.

Dabiri-Erewa, however, said it was necessary for the public to know that the girl refused to come back to Nigeria but preferred to renegotiate with another employer in Lebanon, adding that she had since gained employment in that country.

One of the highpoints of the meeting was a resolution for the Lebanese Ambassador and the Chairman, NiDCOM to work for the growth and development of both the Nigerians and Lebanese Diaspora.

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