FG amazed at sudden burial of 26 female migrants in Italy

A man touches a coffin ahead of the funeral service for 26 Nigerian women who died last week while crossing the Mediterranean Sea, at the Salerno cemetery

The Federal Government says it is amazed and shocked over the sudden burial of the 26 African girls drowned in the Mediterranean Sea by Italian authorities nine days ahead of the slated date.

The Italian Embassy had earlier indicated to the Director General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), that the burial will take place in Salerno, Italy on Nov. 26, 2017, but however went ahead with the burial on November, 17th 2017.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, alongside representative of NAPTIP, Abdulrahim Shaibu, disclosed this at a joint news conference on Monday in Abuja.

A statement by the Media aide to Hon. Dabiri –Erewa, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, stated that a letter to the effect had been sent to the Italian envoy in Nigeria.

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“Why were they hurriedly buried nine days before the date communicated to the DG NAPTIP by the Italian Embassy without any information to Nigerian Government’’, it stated.

The DG of NAPTIP is currently in Italy to engage with the Italian authorities as they prepare for the burial on the Nov. 26.

Also, information available indicates that only three of the girls are said to be identified as Nigerians amidst allegations that the girls may have been assaulted and ill-treated by their traffickers.

“On the issue of Africans sold by Africans in Libya to Europe, as reported by the CNN in a report titled “People for sale; where lives are auctioned for $400”. This is totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhumane and should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through their veins”, it stated.

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They appealed to the African Union, European Union, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization on Migration (IOM) and the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), to intervene in the matter and tackle this issue of slavery happening in Libya and also mete out sanctions to the perpetrators of such heinous crime.