Three months after news of her ordeal in Lebanon reached Nigerians, sending shock waves across the country, 31 year old Temitope Ariwolo, was back home on Saturday relieved to be alive to tell the story all over.
Temitope and 21 other Nigerians stranded in Lebanon were evacuated to Abuja by the federal government.
She was initially stopped from leaving for Nigeria and subsequently charged for stealing and attempted murder of her employer after the story of her maltreatment was broken by Aljazeera television.
She was beaten by Mahmoud Zahran, the husband of her employer, Feyzeh Diab, on April 25 in their Choueifat residence, South of Beirut.
Savouring her fresh freedom, Temitope said: “I am happy being home. Going to Lebanon was like (going to) a hell.
“Nobody knows that will happen there. I advise other Nigerian girls to stay here in Nigeria and try to make it, because going outside there was like hell for me, not only in Lebanon.
“What I experienced in Lebanon, I don’t even pray for Satan to experience.”
She spoke to reporters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
Equally excited by Temitope’s return was the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe who described her return as a dream come true.
“It is a dream come true. The House of Representatives made a commitment to Nigerians, that we would say NO to human trafficking just like we are saying NO to rape,” Akande-Sadipe said.
“Today, Temitope is back home. Unfortunately, I will not allow her show her face because the whole issue has not come to an end. We really want to understand what happened in court back in Lebanon.
“We are happy, she is happy to be back home and I hope this will be a sign to other young girls out there who want to go abroad for greener pastures to ensure that the circumstances they are going into are the expectations they have when they signed up for these agents.
“At the same time, NAPTIP has made a commitment to enforce all laws to ensure that these agents stop doing this very dehumanizing behavior that put out girls not as domestic staff but as slaves.
“Today as a nation, we need to celebrate that this young girl’s life was not lost in such an experience”
The Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli said Temitope would be quarantined for 14 days, then rehabilitated and empowered.
She said: “we are going to rehabilitate her in a shelter and empower her.
“Of course, she has to be quarantined for two weeks. That is the law. After 14 days, we will take her to the shelter; give her some psychosocial support because she is traumatised.
“We have to counsel her, rehabilitate her and empower her. In fact, she has so many people who are ready to empower her.
“We can only start the job of arresting after have profiled her properly and we have counselled her. Then we can get all the necessary information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.”
Temitope had travelled to Lebanon after she was promised a good job.
She ended up as a domestic hand.
Also on the plane from Lebanon on Saturday was Peace Busari who was offered for sale in Lebanon.
Busari had initially turned down government’s first offer to be evacuated home.
She had told government officials and the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) after her rescue that she would prefer to stay back.
Besides, she said she was happy back there after securing a new job.
She turned down all the pleads including the one from her state government Oyo state.
But NIDCOM in a tweet on Saturday announced the evacuation of the two ladies.
The tweet reads, “Coming home from Lebanon, Temitope Arowolo who was held back last time and Peace Busari, the Nigeria Lady that was put up for sale on Facebook by a Lebanese but rescued.”