By Gift Chapi Odekina
The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora yesterday called on the Lebanese government to as matter of urgency stop victimization of a Nigerian lady Temitope Olamide who was reportedly maltreated by her employers and wrongly accused of murder as well as other Nigerians undergoing same faith.
This was just as the Controller General of Immigration, Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport command, Sadat Hassan, disclosed to the Members of the Diaspora committee that some top politicians always put calls to them to prevent her team from arresting illegal immigrants.
The chairman of the committee, Tolulope Akande Sadipe made the call during an oversight visit to Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja.
Fadipe stressed that the Lebanese Government must be held responsible for the violation of Temitope’s rights which is in violation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) .
He said “we Nigerians are really concerned about Temitope because in the recent past two other Nigerian women have died in mysterious circumstances.
“A few months ago, a video of Temitope Ariwolo circulated on the internet regarding the violation of her human rights and that of other foreign domestic workers trafficked to Lebanon.
“However, in the case of Temitope, she has been prevented from, being repatriated back to Nigeria and is currently being charged for Murder. It is very obvious that these are trumped up charges to punish this young woman for taking on her employer and the system in Lebanon.
” In addition, this is also an attempt by the Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria to pervert Justice, as he has requested that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (“NAPTIP”) release a Lebanese national on trial for Human Trafficking in exchange for Temitope.
“Following is a synopsis of Temitope’s matter:
Temitope Olamide Ariwolo, 31 was beaten by Mahmoud Zahran, the husband of her employer, Feyzeh Diab, on April 25, 2020 at a home where they live in Choueifat, South of Beirut.
“The assault on that fateful day started when Mrs Feyzeh Diab (“Diab”) overheard Temitope speaking on a mobile phone and accused her of stealing the device. Apparently Temitope was having a conversation with her family in Nigeria to wish her son a Happy Birthday as he had turned Six years old two days before the incident.
“Temitope, said that Mr Mahmoud Zahran (“Zahran”) hit her in the mouth, causing serious bleeding. She took a video of herself, which revealed the scale of the injury. This video has since gone viral, please find attached the referenced video in my email. Furthermore, Temitope mentioned past beatings by Diab. She is said to have also suffered abuse and sexual harassment from both Zahran and Diab.
“After the case was exposed,The employer Diab was interrogated by the Lebanese Labor Ministry. At no point during this interrogation was the accusation of murder levelled against Temitope.
“When the repatriation flight was arranged, Temitope, was taken to the airport by the Nigerian authorities, however, she and 9 other women were prevented from boarding the flight home because Temitope’s blacklisted employer and some other employers intervened. As a result, these women were prevented from boarding the flight, including Temitope Olamide Ariwolo.
“When this incidence occurred Temitope sent out a message that she was not allowed to get on the plane to Nigeria, because Diab did not approve her departure from Lebanon. To date, the other Nigerian women prevented from boarding have since been released and are awaiting repatriation to Nigeria whilst Temitope is being held back and obviously cannot afford Legal representation.
“The latest news that has been brought to my attention is that Temitope, has been charged with murder. This is preposterous in my opinion. Who did she Murder?
‘It is sad that this young woman’s right is further being violated because she sought greener pastures as a domestic worker in a foreign land to better the lives of her two children,” he stressed.
Fielding questions from the lawmakers, official Hassan told the members that the Immigration officials don’t have the right to arrest or prevent a passenger who is an adult and have a valued document for traveling.
“If a citizen had a valued documents and he or she is adult, it is difficult to stop them, we don’t have a right to stop such a person,” she said.
She also disclosed that her team was able to prevent many violation of Nigerians living abroad when she was ported to Germany as an attaché.
The lawmakers were conducted around the immigration sessions at the airport to inspect equipment like Data Analysis System (MIDAS), capturing cameras among others.