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Friday, October 21, 2016

NAPTIP SHOULD INVESTIGATE DR. TILDE’S INDISCRETION



Full disclosure: I am the Managing Director of Dialogue Global Links Limited, Kaduna. We recruit workers for local and overseas jobs. We went through the whole process of registering the business with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as fulfilling all conditions for clearance with National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and Nigeria Immigration. We submitted to these organisations copies of the contract we signed with Saudi Arabian Manpower Solutions Company (SMASCO) as well as those we signed with each worker, detailing their rights, emoluments and conditions of service. We train, test and screen each applicant so meticulously that nearly 5 months after we got the contract, we are just sending the first batch of successful applicants this month. Sending anyone who is not qualified or unsuitable has consequences; your company will cough up $2000 for each failed deployment. SMASCO has two other partners in Nigeria and it holds them to the same strict standards.

The Qur’an enjoins believers to employ good judgement in ascertaining the veracity of any claim through investigation and application of due diligence in giving fair hearing to litigants or contending parties. (Al-Hujuraat,49:6). When Satan disobeyed Allah’s command of prostration to Adam, even with His All-encompassing Knowledge of why Iblees disobeyed Him, Allah gave him the right to defend himself and asked for his reason in refusing to bow down to Adam (Saad,38:71-76).

The snobbish tone Dr. Aliyu Tilde’s write-ups assume, especially his two posts on Facebook – “The Trafficking of Nigerian Muslims to Saudi Arabia. NAPTIP Beware!” (October 11th, 2016), and “FGN: Please Investigate Allegations of Trafficking/Enslavement of Nigerian Muslims to Saudi Arabia” (October 16th, 2016) betrays sophistry, arrogance, ignorance and disregard to the above Qur’anic injunctions. At best, his articles expose his love for attention and sensation without facts. It makes you wonder how he got the PhD attached to his name. Surely, you studied hard and researched your facts before becoming a doctorate degree holder; unless there is an underlying sentiment which makes such a lettered man discard all the etiquette of scholarship.  

All he had to go on was some cooked-up audio by a certain “Aisha Abubakar Anka, number 53331, Riyal”. The audio, which was released by another unprofessional journalist unto social media platforms for maximum effect, chronicled her journey at the hands of ‘a human trafficking ring’. It sounded just as such audios are designed to sound; emotional. A fine actress Aisha Abubakar Anka would have made. What a waste of talent! She is not the first to be so dubious; she probably was lured into the show of shame. More on that later, insha Allah.

There are millions of Nigerian expatriates in Saudi Arabia - legal as well as illegal residents (overstayers of visa). Among these, you find large army of beggars comprising physically challenged people, women and children brought in by agents at a cost to be settled, with interest, through begging over a long period. This is a thriving business among some Nigerians in Riyadh and the two holy cities of Makkah and Madeenah. I heard of a woman who keeps about 50 beggars at a time, who are closely monitored by a team, while they beg pilgrims for alms. They give a chunk of whatever the beggars make at the end of each day as returns to this ‘beggary-business’ lady. ‘Professionals' in this line of trade will go to any lengths to fight any system that is likely to put them out of business.

Another area in this vile business is the one called ‘Operation’, where an agent will sponsor (with Umrah, and not work, visa) a woman or a man to Saudia under an agreement that binds them, (after overstaying their visa and securing a job illegally), to an instalment payment of a greater part of their wages to the agent over a five-year period, for instance. Some of them beg, sell wares in the streets, wash cars for a fee or end up as housemaids under another syndicate of middlemen who contract them out to Arab households where, at the end of the day, 70% of their salaries goes to their agents. This category of workers, even where they suffer abuse, cannot complain to any authority. As illegal immigrants, the Saudi immigration and police are constantly pursuing them, and if captured, they are often sent back to Nigeria in despicable circumstances. The criminals in this ‘Operation’ business, like Dr. Tilde’s ‘middle-aged, enlightened woman resident there’, will paint with the darkest brush any legal arrangement that will cause them to close shop!

There are such rings within Nigeria too. Young children are basically ‘sold’ into virtual slavery by families and kidnappers. NAPTIP was the government’s answer to the menace; and they are doing a good job, even if they can do better with everyone’s support.

For all the years that these various evil syndicates operated demeaning and causing great embarrassment to Nigeria and its citizens, Dr. Tilde and his co-travellers have not seen it fit to call for investigation into the shame and slavery illegal workers and beggars (among them disabled men, women and children) are subjected to. It is only now when Saudi Arabia decided to end the business of trafficking in persons and included Nigerians in the issuance of work visa that Tilde and his ilk suddenly wake from a deep slumber.

Are we witnessing, in Dr. Tilde’s articles, a proxy war between the ‘Zoroastrian confederates’, avowed foes of Arabs on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia, personifying the Khaleej and the Arab nations on the other? Tilde’s first post suggests that in as much as he averred that ‘very few Arabs have respect for blacks’ Also that ‘The majority despises us and regard us sub-human.’ (Don’t mind the confusion in tenses; Tilde is a PhD). He said, in that connection, that Arabs do not regard the fact that we profess the same faith with them. ‘Most of them’ he opined ‘are worse than infidels…’, whatever than means. He concluded by stating: ‘… the Whites in this case are light years better than the Arabs.’ What would have been the response of Malcolm X to this statement, I wonder! Malcolm X was, after all, an oppressed black in the US, who accepted what seemed to be Islam at the hands of a reverse racist, Elijah Mohammed, and who later realised the universality and non-racial nature of Islam after interacting with Muslims in Saudia Arabia, while on Hajj. I wonder if Tilde realises his comments are ironically racist.

If Dr. Tilde had called me, as hundreds have done, after listening to my response to Aisha Anka’s audio, in order to balance his article with the other view, since I provided my WhatsApp number, he would have known that the contract we signed covers both Muslims and non-Muslims, and thus, avoided the fallacy of addressing his two articles to something affecting Muslims only, in his response to whatever allegations Anka made in her stage-managed audio. Tilde did not call for any clarification; he obviously did not think any was necessary, but only described what I said as ‘a less convincing rebuttal tape’.. ‘circulated by the agents.’ It is curious that he was ready to believe Aisha but did not think ‘the agent’ was convincing. Perhaps Tilde knows something about the curious, stage-managed audio release. By the way, the owners of Travel Express Limited, whose company ferried Aisha to Riyadh, have all her details and they are in the process of suing her to court. The lies are that obvious, but Tilde will believe anything if it damages the foes of the cradle of his ideology, apparently.

Aisha Abubakar Anka claimed that she was lured into the trip by ‘a relation’ who said they were going to be engaged in ‘cleaning the Ka’bah and helping the cause of Muslims.’ Lie. She claimed she has been to Saudia on Umrah previously, surely she must have noticed that not a single woman cleaned hotels and the mosques. Women are employed in other areas but never cleaning of the mosques, the Ka’abah most especially.  

I established contact with the company through which she travelled and found that she filled their recruitment form and indicated her desire to work for two years ‘as a housemaid’  in Saudi Arabia.  She said ‘there are children of 12 to 13 years of age’ among her group which was another lie, as the Saudi Embassy will not issue work visa to anyone below the age of 22. SMASCO set the minimum age for ladies at 22 and men at 28. She also claimed that a woman lost her four-month old pregnancy due to exhaustion, while another fainted because of extreme hunger. As part of the conditions of the work contract, no pregnant woman is accepted for the job. On hunger, I posited, it is not possible to go hungry in a country where you are almost entreated to be fed; where beggars only ask for money; if you give them food, they throw it away. You may accuse Saudi Arabia of other human weaknesses, but certainly not depriving people of food and drink!

Praise be to Allah! Upon all her claims and background-induced weeping, Aisha Anka did not mention rape, torture, or infliction of bodily harm on either herself or any of the women that travelled with her. Dr. Tilde was ignorant of the fact, and did not care to ask, that Aisha Anka was just relating her jumbled experience of a training camp where workers are kept for two weeks, trained and then posted to various places for their job. For the period of such training telephones are not allowed. At the end of her induction period, she was posted to a residence in Abha, another province within the Kingdom, which she refused to go, even though she was given a boarding pass, by her own admission, of a local flight. From the scene her alarm created in the mind of the listener, one would expect a tedious road travel, not checking her in advance and issuing her a boarding pass. Before this, she exposed her ignorance by claiming they were taken to Ethiopia and she was scared. Ethiopian Airlines was the airline she flew on. They must touch Addis Ababa before landing in Saudia; every traveler knows that. Tilde swallowed it all the same, although he is well travelled.

Human beings are the same wherever they are; you find the good and the bad. No country is immune from the issue of abuse of workers, thus, at every given time, we shall have one of our staff in Riyadh for feedback, monitoring and evaluation of the situation of the workers we send. The first batch is travelling with one such staffer.

Our company, Dialogue Global Links has signed contract with SMASCO to recruit three categories of workers,  who must be able to speak, read and write in English, as follows: Drivers (Single and Couple) 28yrs - 45yrs; Housemaids (Single and Couple), 22yrs - 40yrs, and Home Nurses, 27yrs and above.

Beheading the sufferer is not a cure for headaches. Instead of calling on the Government and relevant agencies to stop the current recruitment exercise, regardless of how legal it is, Dr. Tilde should have advocated for the arrest and prosecution of those operating illegally and without proper license!

Let Dr. Tilde be educated; no religious organisation has signed any contract in ‘the ongoing recruitment programs’ to Saudi Arabia. If he has scores to settle with either faction of Izala, let Tilde wait for another avenue. There is nothing religious about it, and the Government is free of ‘complicity’ in this exercise. We see this as a way of putting rogue agents out of business and helping people find jobs.

This may interest Dr. Tilde: over 40% of applicants that we interviewed and cleared as drivers and housemaids are at least graduates. Recruiters tried to discourage them because this is just the first request in the scheme as we are likely to have visas for graduates - engineers, doctors, etc. - but they insisted on going because they are tired of looking for nonexistent jobs! Please, Dr. Tilde; this is the area you should rather ‘appeal to PMB for intervention.





3 comments :

  1. Modified form of Slavery and Prostitution.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Modified form of Slavery and Prostitution.

    ReplyDelete
  3. so nice of you to share this. This amazingly beautiful and informative too.
    regards,
    John

    ReplyDelete