Nigerians Return From Libya


The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, spoke yesterday while receiving the returnees at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, near Port Harcourt.

Also, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who led the delegation to Libya assured of the protection of Nigerians in Libya as well as the safe return for any Nigerian who is desirous of returning home.

More than 5,700 Nigerians are expected to be evacuated from Libya in the next two weeks.

The federal government yesterday received 493 Nigerians evacuated from Libya with a vow to unveil a rehabilitation plan to sooth their pains after their harrowing experience in the North African country.

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Others were Julie Okah-Donli, Director General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Sadiya Umar-Faruq, Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees.

As at the time of filing this report, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) was still profiling the returnees who were prevented from talking with the media.

He said there are over 50 detention camps in Libya, some of them not under the control of the UN-backed government.

He said "as a state government, we had no choice really, let me say that the Rivers State Governor made it clear to me that we should do everything possible to make sure that this exercise was handled smoothly".

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He said: "President Muhammadu Buhari put all necessary arrangements in place to enable us travel to Libya to bring you back to Nigeria".

Echoing the United Nations, the BBC recently reported that Nigerian migrants trying to reach Europe are sold, leased, and used as slaves in Libya where they are beaten, starved, raped, and even killed by prison guards.

Little less than 500 Nigerians were brought in by the government in the first round of evacuation on Sunday (7 January) as they landed in one of the chartered flights. "We carried out a rigorious outreach to ensure that we have everybody back".

"As young children, notwithstanding everything that you went through, you maintained your dignity, your composure, your respect and you stood up when we came and sang the national Anthem, the national pledge with pride, we are extremely proud of you; extremely proud of the way you comported yourself notwithstanding the condition, the most inhuman condition that you were found yourself during this stay. I want to assure you that you will not abandoned".

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The CG, who was also on the delegation said, "I want to state that in 2017 alone, we received into the country deportees specifically from Libya, 5,908". Welcoming the returnees home, Onyeama said, "Mr. President and the good people of Nigeria were concerned about your well-being and sent a delegation".