Most Nigerian girls got into in Lebanon legally, Envoy clarifies
By our reporter
Aug. 14, 2020 - Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Houssam Diab has clarified that contrary to assumptions, most Nigerians, especially ladies in Lebanon are not trafficked but entered into the country legally.
Diab who disclosed when he visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Friday in Abuja said there only few cases of smuggling and trafficking which adequate measures have been put in place to stem the tide.
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 employees as a result of the recent economic downturn in the country.
Diab further explained that the temporal ban on the issuance of visas to domestic workers since May has helped in mitigating the level at which the ladies are left stranded as there have been no new reported case.
“As of 1st may the Lebanese government have 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.
“90 percent of these agencies are Nigerian agencies, they are applying through Lebanese agencies in Lebanon through the security general to acquire work visas and work permits for these ladies.
“This is how the process used to be, so by stopping the issuing of the visas, we would have stopped new cases from arising,” Diab said.
He also noted that of the estimated 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon, majority of them are gainfully employed.
Diab said the Lebanese government and community in Nigeria have successfully evacuated 500 Nigerian ladies from Lebanon with 200 more to be evacuated soonest.
He noted that the evacuation further shows the strong bilateral relations between Nigeria and Lebanon, as they ensured the repatriation of the stranded Nigerian despite the recent challenge of its Port explosion.
“There is an estimated 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon, we have to be clear on that, and a lot of them are gainfully employed, and making a good return on their jobs and we do not want this to affect them.
“The numbers that have been stranded so far are the ones that we have brought back and we are bringing another 200, the ones that we have registered in the Embassy in Lebanon.
“The economic situation is very bad these days and the issue is happening where the employees are not able to pay these workers anymore and that is where the Embassy in Lebanon is stepping in to bring them back.
“There are just very few cases of abuse, we have to be careful as a lot of these videos circulating on social media are not all true and they are affecting the ones doing legitimate jobs and making a salary,”Diab added.
Onyeama appreciated the Lebanese government and the Lebanese community in Nigeria for their efforts in facilitating the return of the stranded Nigerian girls.
The Minister said “The temporary ban on visa issuance will give Nigeria time to review the whole situation and to ensure that we get our labour laws in place.
“And if we have good regulations of that mechanisms and it cannot be a means for exploitation in anyway and this is a very good initiative and one that we fully support.
“As we battle with the strong involvement of the Embassy in Beirut, the immediate challenge was to repatriate these girls and we would like to offer our profound gratitude to the Lebanese community.
“For their efforts to make available resources to bring these girls back and bring them back fairly quickly.
“We appreciate that enormously because it was a challenge to bring them back, the resources were not there and you very kindly have stepped in and what that shows we have a long history between Nigerian and Lebanese communities,”Onyeama said
The Minister also urged Nigerians to be weary of fake videos going round on social media which are most times misleading.