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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

171 Nigerians Libyan returnees arrive in Lagos airport



One hundred and seventy-one Nigerian returnees from Libya yesterday arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, recounting their ordeal.

The returnees were received by Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who cautioned Nigerians to desist from dangerous search for greener in Libya.
She said yesterday’s number of 171 brings to over 1,000 returnees, who have been brought home from Libya in the last two years.
The returnees were 112 women, 49 men and five infants.
They were flown in aboard an Airbus 320 belonging to Nouvelair with registration number TS – INB that landed about 4.13p.m.
The returnees were also received by officials of International Organisation of Migration (IOM), Nigerian Immigration Service, Police, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other security agencies.
Speaking in an interview with reporters at the Hajj Camp axis of the Lagos Airport, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa admonished the returnees not to see themselves as criminals, but Nigerians who have experience of seeking greener pastures, but could now tell a different story.
She cautioned parents to advise their children against such risky ventures of travelling to foreign lands without knowing the risks involved.
She urged state governments to design empowerment programmes for the returnees to enable them pick their lives back.
She said the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that such people were rehabilitated after their experience abroad.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “This is not the time to travel abroad. It is always a sad story to be trafficked. Some of these persons wanted better life. But now, they know better that it is not worth the trouble .
We will continue to caution patients to discourage their children from embarking on such trips .There is no better time to learn skills than now. We are calling on all Nigerians in Libya to come back home because such trips is not worth it at all.
“We are, therefore, calling on state governments to design empowerment programmes to assist these persons that are lucky to have arrived alive. Some died trying to move to Europe. Many more will be brought back home.”
Narrating her ordeal, one of the returnees, who identified herself as  Gift Peters, said many Nigerians were exposed to harrowing experiences in Libya.
She alleged that many were serving jail terms for offences they did not commit.
The returnee said she was lured into the trafficking ring without the knowledge of her parents by an unidentified trafficker, “who is on the run”.
Peters said : “Travelling to Libya is not worth the experience. Words cannot describe the torture and maltreatment we encountered. Some of us were beaten with iron, burnt and sent to jail.
“Many Nigerian girls are in prison and many have died from gunshot wounds. I even lost many of my friends.”
The NEMA team that facilitated their movement from the aircraft to the Hajj Camp was led by its Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Salisu Mohammed.
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