Contrary to the assumption that most Nigerians, especially ladies in Lebanon were trafficked, Houssam Diab, the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, has cleared the air pointing out that they entered into the country legally.
Diab made this known when he visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Friday in Abuja. According to him, the Nigerian ladies who recently called for help in viral videos were stranded in Lebanon because their employees could no longer pay them as a result of the recent economic downturn in the country.
Diab said the temporary ban on the issuance of visas to domestic workers since May had also helped in mitigating the plight of ladies stranded in Lebanon.
“As of May 1, the Lebanese government has stopped issuing visas for domestic workers coming from Nigeria. This will stop any new cases from arising; they will not be able to get into Lebanon. The specificity for the issue in Lebanon is that all these girls are entering into Lebanon legally.
“There is no human trafficking illegally into Lebanon. About 90 per cent of the agencies involved in it are Nigerian agencies, and they apply through Lebanese agencies in Lebanon to acquire work visas and work permits for the ladies. This is how it is; so by stopping the issuing of the visas, we would have stopped new cases from arising,” Diab said.
He noted that out of the estimated 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon, the majority of them were gainfully employed. Diab said the Lebanese government and the Nigerian government had successfully evacuated 500 Nigerian ladies from Lebanon with 200 more to be evacuated soonest.
He noted that the evacuation further showed the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, despite the recent explosion in Lebanon. Onyeama appreciated the Lebanese government and the Lebanese community in Nigeria for their efforts in facilitating the return of the stranded Nigerian girls.
According to the Minister, the temporary ban on visa issuance will give Nigeria time to review the whole situation and to ensure that they get the labour laws in place.
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