By Sadiq Umar – The Federal Government on Monday expressed “surprise and shock” over the sudden burial of the 26 African girls drowned in the Mediterranean Sea by Italian authorities nine days ahead of the slated date.
At a joint news conference by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, alongside Mr. Abdulrahim Shaibu, representative of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons in Abuja Monday, the government raised suspicion regarding the burial.
The Media aide to Hon, Dabiri –Erewa, AbdulRahman Balogun, in a statement said a letter to the effect of the latest development had been sent to the Italian envoy in Nigeria.
“Why were they hurriedly buried nine days before the date communicated to the DG NAPTIP by the Italian Embassy without any information to Nigerian Government”, they asked
The DG of NAPTIP is currently in Italy to engage with the Italian authorities preparatory to the burial on the November. 26. as earlier scheduled.
Information available also indicates that only three of the girls are said to have been identified as Nigerians amidst allegations that the girls may have been assaulted and ill-treated by their traffickers.
“On the issue of Africans sold by Africans in Libya to Europe, as reported by the CNN in a report titled “People for sale; where lives are auctioned for $400”, the government said it was totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhumane and such action should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through his veins.
The duo appealed to the African Union, European Union, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization on Migration (IOM) and the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), to intervene in the matter and tackle this issue of slavery happening in Libya and also mete out sanctions to the perpetrators of such heinous crime.