The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora says the Lebanese Government should be held responsible for the violation of Mrs Temitope Ariwolo’ human right, a citizen of Nigeria in Lebanon.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Tolulope-Akande Shadipe (APC-Oyo) stated this at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
“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).
“Lebanese Nigerian community, your support in any way possible to stop the victimisation of this young woman and several others would be most appreciated.
“We Nigerians are really concerned about Ariwolo because in the recent past two other Nigerian women have died in mysterious circumstances,” he said.
Sadipe called on the Lebanese community in Nigeria to speak out for the release of Mrs Temitope Ariwolo who is illegally held in Lebanon.
She recalled that a video of Temitope Ariwolo circulated on the internet regarding the violation of her human rights and those of other foreign domestic workers trafficked to Lebanon.
The rep said that Lebanese in Nigeria have been very welcome since the arrival of the first Lebanese Ilyas Al-Khuri in 1890.
According to her, since then we have co-existed happily for many years with many Lebanese now also Nigerian citizens.
The lawmaker said that Ariwolo, had been prevented from being repatriated back to Nigeria and was currently being charged for murder.
According to her, 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.
Sadipe said it’s an attempt by the Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria to pervert justice on the issue of human trafficking.
According to the rep, the ambassador requested that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) should release a Lebanese national on trial for Human Trafficking in exchange for Ariwolo.
Sadipe recalled that 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, accusing her of stealing a phone.
The legislator said that Ariwolo courageously exposed series of assault and sexual harassment from both Zahran and Diab.
Sadipe said that Diab, having been interrogated by the Lebanese Labor Ministry was blacklisted and henceforth unable to employ a domestic worker in Lebanon.
According to the lawmaker, at no point during this interrogation was the accusation of murder levelled against Ariwolo.
“When the repatriation flight was arranged, Ariwolo, was taken to the airport by the Nigerian authorities, however, she and nine other women were prevented from boarding the flight home because Ariwolo blacklisted employer and some other employers intervened.
“When this incidence occurred Ariwolo 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 Ariwolo is being held back and obviously cannot afford Legal representation,” she said.
Sadipe said that the murder charge was further violation of Ariwolo’s right just because she sought greener pastures as a domestic worker in a foreign land which was not a crime.
She said that the committee had earlier invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Lebanese ambassador to brief the committee but they refused to honour the invitation.
The chairman said that the committee would invite them again to establish the situation and more facts on the matter.