Abigail’s meeting with Alhaja Latifat was supposed to be one of transformation, rather, it ended as a deformation of some sort.
The 26-year-old lady, who had lost her parents and had the sole responsibility of catering for her siblings, said that she jumped at the offer to travel to Italy for the proverbial ‘greener pastures’ as a way of meeting the demands of her siblings.
Little did she know that she was being coerced into a higher level of prostitution, and during her confession to Vanguard, she seemed to be in pain, felt dejected as she had been forcefully used by the Alhaja in the last three years.
Abigail narrated how she met Alhaja Latifat and her husband in 2013 when they came to Nigeria (then she was 23-years-old). “I knew them via a relative of mine, Rofel, when I was residing in Bayelsa with my siblings. Rofel invited me to Lagos; it was during the visit to Lagos that I was introduced to Alhaja Latifat who
promised to take me to Italy.
“Before the journey, they said they wanted me to become an auxiliary nurse for them in Italy but unfortunately I found myself in Libya. They took me via the desert. We were about 30 that were taken to Libya from Nigeria. “Since I didn’t have parents, I was only able to raise N10, 000 which the Alhaja claimed was for the passport she procured for me.
The agreement was that I will work and pay her N2.4 million once I get to Italy which included the amount she spent to take me abroad and the return on her investment,” Abigail narrated amid pains. Speaking further, she explained how they were taken to a native doctor called Ewe in Abeokuta, Ogun state where they were were made to swear an oath and were taken to Libya instead of Italy. And on how she started aborting pregnancies, Abigail narrated: “when I got to Libya and found out that my responsibility was to abort pregnancies for young girls, I refused but Alhaja Latifat and her husband locked me up in a room and beat me severely with a mop stick I had no option but to oblige.
Each time I refused to perform abortion for any of the girls, they will lock me up and beat me.
“That was how I started assisting them to terminate unwanted pregnancies for the young girls who were working as call girls for Alhaja Latifat. “We had girls within the ages of 10-15 working as call girls, sleeping with all sorts of men unprotected. Most of the girls were forced to sleep with elderly men as old as 60 years-old.
Some of these girls confessed to me that they were hairdressing apprentices and fashion designers before they were deceived to come to Libya to work as prostitutes. “Any of the girls who refused to work, they will beat her up. Some of the girls who attempted to escape got into more trouble as they were resold to other traffickers in Libya.
“My main responsibility was to carry out abortion for the girls forced into prostitution. By my calculation, I would have aborted 320 pregnancies in the process.
They built instrument which I used to perform the abortion on the girls. If a pregnancy was about a month, and the girl in question notified Alhaja Latifat about the development, the Alhaja Alhaja will not allow me to abort the baby till the pregnancy was about four or five months old.”
She also acted as the physician to the girls, residing in ‘New York’, one of the three brothels used by the syndicate to perpetrate their acts. Said Abigail: “The second was called White House. I can’t remember the name of the third one.
“I worked for the Alhaja for about three years and I was able to raise the amount from the abortion I was performing on the girls and the money I got from my male friends who were into armed robbery in Libya.
Like the call girls, I was not allowed to operate a bank account. “Since I didn’t operate any bank account, the money I earned was kept with Alhaja Latifat. Within two years I was able to pay the N2.4m agreed amount on the contract and also give her N1.5M which I kept with her as my personal savings.”
But how did the bubble burst? Abigail had demanded her N1.5m which she gave the Alhaja since she wanted to return to Nigeria to meet with her siblings, but a shocking incident followed immediately.
“Immediately after I demanded for my money, this strange sickness started. I began to grow thin and lose weight.
And then skin rashes began to appear all over my body. Look at me I am now a shadow of myself. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I feel very weak too.
“I was rescued alongside two other girls weeks after Basirat and Omobolanle were rescued through an NGO, Alliance for Rights Defender, owned by human activists and lawyer, Mr Ojay Akinwale. “Mr Akinwale has been the one working with operatives of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). “Since I was rescued and brought back to Nigeria, Alliance for Rights Defender has been instrumental to providing medical care for me. I want to get well first and I also want the Federal Government to investigate Alhaja Latifat, her husband and others running this human trafficking as a family business by taking advantage of young girls from indigent families,” a pale Abigail stated.
Only two weeks ago, two young Nigerians who were rescued from prostitution, shared their experience. According to Encomium Weekly, two young girls, 25-year-old Franka Akhimen and 23-year-old Ehinon Onofua, were lucky to have escaped from a wild and dangerous life on the streets. The young ladies had been approached by an unidentified, suspected female trafficker at Ekpoma, Edo state, and offered work in a restaurant in Ivory Coast. They had ended up on the streets of Togo, where they were made to work as prostitutes, and were to remit the sum of 800,00 Cefas, to the lady, identified as ‘Madam Excellent’.
They shared the story of how they were deceived and how they learnt their lessons the hard way. Here’s what they had to say.