5,000 Nigerians trapped in Libyan detention camps – Official

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FILE PHOTO: Some of the 171 Nigerians who voluntarily returned from Libya before they disembarked form their aircraft on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja. {Photo; NAN]

The federal government has identified 5,000 more Nigerians trapped in Libyan detention camps.

The Charge d’Affaires of Nigeria in Libya, Illiya Fachano, told the News Agency of Nigeria “there is a camp with 5000 Nigerians and we need the diplomatic police to escort us to extract them.

“There are various camps in the regions of South, West and East of Libya.

“The UN-backed Libyan Government is in the western region which is where Tripoli is.

“Camps in the other regions are known but inaccessible camps due to the challenges of going into these camps as a communication chain is required before we can reach them,” he said.

He said that the Nigerian government has been in talks with the recognised government in Tripoli on how to reach some of the camps to extract its nationals.

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

“We need the Nigerian government to better fund its embassy in Libya and send the aircraft.

“We have made our request for that.”

He called on the UN to help out by sponsoring repatriation flights, provide food and health materials for the migrants.

He said the federal government has so far repatriated 3250 from Libya in recent times.

This is even as 300 other Nigerians are to be repatriated from Libya every week.

Mr. Fachano said the government would continue to make efforts to save Nigerians that are trapped in Libya.

“We, the embassy of Nigeria in Tripoli, Libya, have been doing our best to register Nigerians.

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

“We also ensure that we are up to date with the number of Nigerians in specific detention camps.

“I want it to be clear that the mission and Nigerian government have been doing this long before the CNN report.’’

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

“I want the public to know that we have some Nigerians who are not willing to return despite the unfavourable situations and the fact is that we can’t get them on the flight without their consent.

Mr. Fachano said that the repatriation exercise would be a continuous exercise.

He also said 3250 Nigerians have so far been repatriated from Libya in recent times, while 300 other Nigerians are to be repatriated from Libya every week.

“We, the embassy of Nigeria in Tripoli, Libya, have been doing our best to register Nigerians.

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

“We also ensure that we are up to date with the number of Nigerians in specific detention camps.

“I want it to be clear that the mission and Nigerian government have been doing this long before the CNN report.’’

He said that the government would continue to engage the legitimate government in Libya and other stakeholders in addressing the plight of Nigerian migrants in that country.

NAN reports that the Foreign Ministry has urged citizens to reach the Nigerian Embassy in Libya for assistance through these emergency numbers: +218910144487, +218925099384 and +218917953365.

“The contact email addresses for the embassy and the ministry are: nigeria@nigeriantripoli.org and help@foreignaffairs.gov.ng.

The ministry said that the embassy had received requests for intervention from some relations of the victims based in Nigeria through these contacts.

(NAN)


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