The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday in Enugu, Enugu State, rescued five underage labourers and sealed a building under construction where they worked.
The South-East Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Nneka Ajie, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the agency had raided the construction site.
NAN reported that the construction site, which is at No. 1 Dr Alex Ekwueme Street, Independence Layout, Enugu, is a four-storey building.
Mrs Ajie said the early morning raid followed an intelligence gathered by the agency that some underage children were being exploited by their “principal”.
“We got a tip-off that some children are being brought into the state for child and exploitative labour. We carried out surveillance and raided the location.
“We succeeded in rescuing five minors between the ages of eight and 17 as well as 12 adults who were minors at the time they were recruited and brought to the state four years ago,” she said.
The NAPTIP zonal commander said the victims were brought from Benin Republic by a man identified as Francis, who is now at large.
She described the incident as modern day slavery which would never be allowed to take roots in the state.
According to Mrs Ajie, the building is to be used as a hotel and the agency has gotten the name of the alleged owner.
“We are currently profiling the name of the alleged owner and will do the needful at the right time. Meanwhile, the site is currently under seal,” Mrs Ajie added.
Speaking with NAN, the minors said that they had been in the country for a long time and were taken to work across the country by Francis.
They said they were paid N3,000 each per week, while the adults among them were paid N10, 000 each weekly.
NAN gathered that people who undertake such work at construction sites in Enugu are paid N7,000 each daily