A Nigerian musician and leader of the ‘Our Mumu Don Do’ movement, Charles Oputa, on Monday led a group of protesters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand that the Nigerian government do more over the plight of Nigerians allegedly sold as slaves in Libya.
The protest which was peaceful had the protesters bound in chains and handcuffs and also sealed their mouths.
The spokesperson of the protesting group, Raphael Adebayo, urged the federal government to take urgent steps to ensure that the sale of Nigerians into slavery in Libya is brought to an end.
“Our message to the federal government today is very simple and clear: that issuing press statement is not enough to give respite to the Nigerians who are suffering in Libya. Concocting and fabricating phone numbers is not enough to give respite to the Nigerians suffering in Libya.
“What we are demanding is that decisive and genuine actions are taken to repatriate Nigerians who are in Libya and give them a reason to want to be Nigerians. We hope that they are going to act on these demands of ours,” he
Top government officials in the ministry including the Nigerian Charge D’Affaire to Libya, Iliya Danladi Fachano, while receiving the protesters, said the government is already repatriating Nigerians, detained in Libya.
Speaking on behalf of the government officials, Mr. Fachano said that the federal government is currently having ”a series of engagements at various levels to fashion out the best ways address the issue.”
“By rule as civil servants, we do not speak on what we do but let me tell you what the Nigerian embassy has been doing in Tripoli.
“The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) usually informs us of the detention camps where Nigerians are kept by the Libyan authorities who refer to them as illegal migrants.
“Upon the receipts of the IOM intelligence reports, we visit the detention camps to identify our people. After we properly identify them, we issue them emergency travel certificates and schedule a date for their flight
home. The IOM finance the flights.
“We also forward the names of the returnees to Nigeria where officials of our consular department and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will expect to receive them for rehabilitation and resettlement upon their return to the country.
“So far, we have registered over 3,000 Nigerians in Libya and repatriated about 2,000. On Tuesday 5th December, 2017, we are expecting a batch of 250 returnees by 7pm in Lagos.
“On the global level, migration is not an issue. It is only an issue when it is illegal. Illegal migration is like terrorism. Our duty is to protect both Nigerians that run afoul of the law and those that are legal migrants
because we exist in Libya to serve the interest of all Nigerians.”
He added that “for those sold as slaves, we request for their freedom and take up cases against Nigerians in Libya who are found culpable in cases of alleged slave auction in Tripoli and other parts of Libya.”
Last week, Charly Boy also led a protest to the Libyan Embassy to protest the alleged inhuman treatment of Nigerians by the Libyan authorities.