The Federal Government on Tuesday evacuated 41 Nigerian girls from Bamako, Mali, through the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Air Force, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
The 41 girls, according to the government, are victims of human trafficking to Europe but ended up in Mali.
They arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport , Lagos aboard a Hercules C-130 military transport aircraft at about 7. 55pm.
The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the girls were trapped in Mali.
She said NAF was asked to bring them back after the government received a distress call to help evacuate the girls.
Dabiri-Erewa said their return home was part of the directives from President Muhammadu Buhari, who insisted that Nigerians stranded anywhere in the world, should be assisted to return home .
She said many Nigerians were still stranded in Mali and would be brought back home and urged the girls to make the best use of their lives as they had no business living in Mali.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, prior to their evacuation, NAPTIP officials had travelled to Mali for documentation and other logistics to ease the return of the girls.
She said, “NAPTIP will rehabilitate them and we have commenced profiling of the girls. We call on Non-Governmental Organisations to join us in tackling this problem.
“They were deceived into embarking on the journey. We will ensure we train them to the state of proficiency in different vocations, after which we trace their parents and counsel them.”
She said many of the girls came back with stories of woes, adding that they were evacuated alongside six suspected traffickers.
“We have arrested six suspects and have handed them over to security agencies for prosecution,” she added.
Some of the girls complained of not being allowed to take their belongings as they were literally brought home empty handed.