Some Nigerians in Libya not willing to return - minister

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A few hours after 144 Nigerians voluntarily returned from Libya, another aircraft carrying 257 of their compatriots on Wednesday landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

After constant complaints, several sub-Saharan countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, and Nigeria announced the progressive repatriation of their compatriots who traveled to Libya in order to cross the Mediterranean Sea and reach Europe.

Farinloye also confirmed that four of the returnees had medical cases and were promptly taken by a waiting ambulance for treatment in the hospital.It was gathered that 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).

INDEPENDENT learnt that there had been a renewed drive to repatriate all stranded Nigerians from Libya amidst raging reports concerning a resurgence of slave trade in the Maghreb, especially Libya.

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Hundreds of thousands of other migrants are believed to be in lawless Libya, and many of them are being held by smugglers under lock-and-key in a country consumed by factional violence since strong man Muammar Gaddafi was ousted six years ago.

"We have visited the detention camps, and also collaborated with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to repatriate migrants weekly".

A CNN report last month that included video footage of a slave auction in October outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli, where about a dozen migrants were sold as slaves in a matter of minutes, triggered global outcry.

A number of Nigerians in Libya do not want to return home, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has disclosed.

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Beyond identification, Onyeama said most of the Nigerian victims were trapped in areas not officially recognised by the United Nations.

"Especially how many Nigerians are in detention and are trying to come home?"

The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Tiwatope Elias-Fatile, said the country's embassy in Libya had been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration.

Mr. Fachano called for the provision of a bigger aircraft to evacuate Nigerians who has have agreed to come back home.

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"We have asked the Nigerian presidency to provide us with an extra aeroplane to assist with the quick repatriation of registered Nigerians who are willing to return".

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