The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged its committees on foreign affairs and interior to liaise with the relevant ministries to ensure urgent repatriation of the 22 stranded Nigerians from the Niger Republic.
This followed a motion of urgent national importance by Abdullahi Salame (APC-Sokoto), at plenary on the “need to repatriate the stranded Nigerians that escaped slavery from Libya in Niger Republic.
Leading debate on the motion, Mr Salame explained that the ECOWAS Parliament recently sent its delegation on fact finding mission to ascertain the status of stranded West Africans that escaped persecution and slavery from Libya.
Mr Salame said that the stranded Africans were currently languishing at the International Organisation for Migrants Camp in Agades, Niger Republic.
According to him, there are several youths and women nationals of West African Sub-region in Niger Republic and other countries within the sub-region.
“Nigeria is one of the countries with considerable escapees numbering 22 ‘dumped’ in the International Organisation for Migrants Camp in Niger Republic.
“Many of the Nigerian escapees have devised private means and left for Nigeria while 22 Nigerians are still hanging in the camp with no certainty of how and when they will be repatriated home,” he said.
Mr Salame expressed worry that the condition of the Nigerian escapees was not encouraging as many had suffered varied injuries from gunshot wounds and varieties of human right abuses in Libya.
He said the stranded Nigerians were still in a helpless situation that required Federal Government’s intervention to be repatriated home as many other sister West African escapees were taken care of by their countries.
According to him, the escapees’ condition of living is not encouraging given their large number which at any time exhausts the limited facilities available in the humanitarian camp.
“The possibility of epidemic outbreak in the camp and the risk of them being stranded and vulnerable even more in the event of withdrawing services by the International Organisation for Migrants is higher.
“The image of Nigeria which currently holds the leadership of the ECOWAS is at stake if urgent action is not taken to repatriate the Nigerian escapees currently languishing in the camp,” the lawmaker said.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The House, therefore, urged its committees to liaise with SMEDAN and other relevant government agencies to engage them ”entrepreneurially for better re-integration into the society”. (NAN)
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