The Nigerian government has warned its Libyan counterpart against molesting Nigerians in the north African country.
The government said it made clear to Libyan authorities that it has “zero tolerance” for such treatment.
The warning followed reports of enslavement and maltreatment of Nigerians stranded in Libya.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known on Monday as another batch of 491 Nigerians arrived Port Harcourt from Libya.
Mr. Onyeama reassured of Federal Government’s commitment to return all stranded Nigerians from Libya.
The minister said there were stories of exploitation and suffering by stranded Nigerians in Libya, which compelled Federal Government to act decisively.
“We made it clear to the Libyan Government that we want to see all Nigerians there. We insisted that we should see all of them, instead of hearing from them.
“We made it clear that they (Libyans) are signatories to international conventions and we expected them to have control of those who guard our children.
“They cooperated with us because of respect for Mr President; there were people who were making money from these children and did not want them to return home.
“We carried out rigorous outreach to ensure that we have everybody back.”
The minister noted that the programme is a continuous process that would return all stranded Nigerians from Libya.
The minister explained that “the Libyan Government got the message that as far as they are Nigerians, we have zero tolerance for molestation.”
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani, who led the Rivers state delegation, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for making efforts in returning the stranded Nigerians.
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.
“The Rivers State Government would do everything in its power to assist federal agencies handling this programme, because above everything else, we are all Nigerians and this programme is a clear indication that when we work together, we can achieve anything.
“What you are seeing here today clearly shows that our governor and indeed the President feel same about this issue.
“On behalf of the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, I will like to thank President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and his team who worked tirelessly to make the return of our brothers and sisters successful.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that all the returnees were profiled at designated booths at the airport.
NAN reports that the minister was accompanied by officials from the Nigerian Immigration Service, NEMA NAPTIP and military personnel. (NAN)