New batch of 136 Nigerians returns from Libya

File photo of Nigerians returning from Libya
File photo of Nigerians returning from Libya

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received another batch of 136 stranded Nigerians from Libya.

Idris Muhammed, Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of NEMA, confirmed the development to journalists on Tuesday in Lagos.

Mr Muhammed said the Nigerians arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 11.50 p.m on Monday aboard a chartered Al Buraq Air aircraft with registration number DMG-MJI.

According to him, they were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVR) Programme.

He said: “The returnees are made up of 59 adult females, four female children and five female infants.

“Also, there are 63 adult males, two male children and three infant males.”

Mr Muhammed said the returnees were welcomed by NEMA and other agencies, including the National Refugees Commission, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons as well the Nigeria Immigration Service.

One of the returnees, Kehinde Fatukasi, from Ekiti State, while narrating his experience said he deeply regretted embarking on the journey to the volatile North African country.

The 42-year-old man said he left Nigeria in 2016 accompanied by his wife and six-year-old son.

Mr Fatakusi said upon getting to Libya, the family was kidnapped and sold into slavery but fortunately, his wife managed to escape.

According to him, he later found out that those in captivity were being sold to organ traffickers which prompted him to escape from the camp with his son.

“I was there (Libya) with my wife who had returned to Nigeria. I believe she would have thought that we are dead.

“The Arabs treated us like slaves. You work without being paid and so many of us were killed while watching the killings.

“All of us here don’t fear death; we have seen what is more than hell.

“The Libyans don’t care if you are black or not, the treatment given to us (blacks) is same they give to their Arab neighbours from Tunisia or Algeria.

“Once they need someone to work, those chosen must follow them. Any refusal not to follow will be to kill that person instantly,” he said.

Mr Fatakusi, while thanking God for bringing him and his son safely back to Nigeria, said he intended taking up farming as a means of survival.

He added: “Libyans are great farmers in spite of the fact that their country is in desert. I came back to Nigeria with irrigation tools like water sprinkler which will aid me to start afresh.

“I will work very hard to see that my son gets very good education and give my wife a restful life to enjoy our marriage.

“If I had adequate information about the lies of better life outside, I would not have tried to leave Nigeria.

“I wanted to travel to Germany. A friend assured me of better life but immediately we got to Niger Republic I began to regret my decision, and I didn’t know that what I experienced in the desert was just a child’s play.”

Mr Fatakusi advised Nigerians to be patient and struggle to make better use of resources available in the country instead of risking their lives in Libya or trying to cross the deadly Mediterranean Sea into Europe. (NAN)

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