The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has disclosed that some Nigerians in Libya do not want to return home.
Addressing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6th, Onyeama stated that the Federal Government has summoned Nigeria’s Charge D’Affaire in Tripoli to Abuja following reports that Nigerians in various detention centres across Libya are being subjected to untold hardship and slave trade.
“What we have done is that first, we have got our Charge D’Affairs in Tripoli to come to Abuja to give us the full details of what is actually going on there and how many Nigerians are in detention and are trying to come home,” he said.
According to the Minister, once the government gets the number of Nigerians in Libya’s prisons and all other facts, it would meet with National Emergency Management Agency and the NAPTIP on how to evacuate them.
Onyeama said the evacuation would be done in co-ordination with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) “and see if we can very quickly repatriate all our Nigerian nationals who are there who want to return home. Hear him:
“The Charge D’Affairs said a number of Nigerians (and not all of them) do not want to come home. Certainly, it has to be those who want to come back home.”
Statistics from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reveals that no less than 1,295 Nigerian migrants were repatriated from Libya in November (between 6th – 30th), with more of them expected to be return before the end of the year.
According to NEMA, the migrants voluntarily returned in batches from Libya in November after being stranded in the volatile North African country en route Europe, with the help of the International Organization for Migration and the European Union.
In the meantime, more migrants are being saved from slavery and trafficking in Libya, in continuation of the massive repatriation plan to bring all Nigerians stranded in the war-torn North African country back to Nigeria.
Another 275 citizens were airlifted to the country on Tuesday, Dec. 5th, a few hours after a batch of 144 Nigerians were returned.
The first batch of returnees was returned at 9 p.m. on Tuesday while the latest returnees touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at about 1.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The returnees who arrived aboard a Libyan Airlines aircraft at the cargo wing of the airport, comprising 65 adult females, 179 adult males, seven children and six infants were happy that they escaped the tortuous and precarious life in Libya, where many of them wanted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
According to the spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-west Zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, the returnees were assisted back to Nigeria by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU).
Farinloye disclosed that four of the returnees had medical cases and were promptly taken away on an ambulance for treatment.
He said the returnees were received by officials of NEMA, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).