Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria Houssam Diab on Friday August 14, stated that most Nigerian girls in Lebanon were not trafficked but entered the country legally.
Diab who said this during a visit to the Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja, further stated that the Nigerian ladies who recently cried out for help from Lebanon did so because they could no longer be paid by their employees as a result of the recent economic downturn.
He added that the suspension of the issuance of visas to domestic workers since May had also contributed to the situation.
The Ambassador said;
“As of May 1, the Lebanese government has 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 per cent 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.”
Diab further disclosed that the Lebanese government and the Nigerian government has successfully evacuated 500 Nigerian ladies from Lebanon with 200 more to be evacuated soonest. The Ambassador added that there are about 5,000 Nigerians living in Lebanon, and majority of them are gainfully employed.
Speaking during the meeting, Geoffrey Onyeama said the evacuation process has shown the strong bilateral relations between the two countries in spite of the recent explosion in Lebanon.
The minister added that 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.