The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Houssam Diab, said on Friday that contrary to popular belief, most Nigerians, especially ladies in the Middle Eastern nation, were not trafficked but entered the country legally.
Diab stated this when he visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja.
According to him, the Nigerian ladies who recently called for help in viral videos were stranded in Lebanon because they could no longer be paid by their employers due to the recent economic downturn in the country.
The envoy said the temporary ban on the issuance of visas to domestic workers since May had also helped in mitigating the number of ladies stranded in Lebanon.
He said: “As of May 1, the Lebanese government had stopped issuing visas for domestic workers coming from Nigeria.
“This will definitely stop any new cases from arising. They will not be able to get into Lebanon, the specificity for the issue at Lebanon is that all these girls are entering into Lebanon legally.
“There is no human trafficking illegally into Lebanon.
“About 90 percent of the agencies involved in it are Nigerian agencies and they apply through Lebanese agencies in Lebanon through the security general 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.”
He noted that many out of the estimated 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon are 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.
Onyeama thanked 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 issuance of visa would give Nigeria time to review the whole situation and put labour laws in place.
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