Another set of Nigerians numbering 164 (158 males and 6 females) returned to the country from Libya in the early hours of Friday, December 8th, 2017.

The returnees, who left the country through irregular travel routes and mostly through human trafficking voluntarily returned to the country and were received by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The newest set of returnees landed at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) aboard a Libyan registered aircraft at about 12.40am.

Some of the returnees recounted the horrible experiences they encountered while crossing the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

One of them, Keshi Emmanuel, who was going to Italy and had to pass through Libya said he thought Libya is the fastest means to cross to Europe but he was mistaken.

“I left just to make a change of life. I was hoping to pass Libya to Europe. I was going to Italy to do my welding work. I dropped out from school. I thought going through Libya is the only fast way I can make it. I am not fully happy to be back in Nigeria because I lost some money which I used in processing my travelling.” Emmanuel narrated.

Obi Emeka Reuben, who left the shores of the country because he had no one to sponsor him to school revealed how he escaped death on the Mediterranean Sea and had to spend six months in a Libyan prison.

“I left Nigeria because I had no sponsor to go back to school after my National Diploma (ND). My mother, who could have helped me died due to a stomach problem. I had no other means and I decided to use the little money I saved to travel through the land. I left with no place in mind; I was looking at Germany or Italy to do any work I see.”

“There is plenty of stress and disaster while travelling to Libya. My boat capsized and many people were carried away by water. I was one of the people rescued by local fishermen and was later arrested. I was in prison for six months in Libya before being taken to a deportation camp.”

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Joseph Famakin, Ikeja Zonal commander of NAPTIP asserted that many Nigerians who are leaving the country in search of opportunities are chasing a mirage adding that people die on a daily basis while crossing the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea as a result of irregular migration. He also advised Nigerians to make use of legal and regular migrations when leaving the country.

“These people (164 returnees) left Nigeria believing that it is greener over there and a lot of them were deceived to embark on a journey to an unknown world. This journey is not one that is advisable for any human being because passing through the Sahara Desert and arriving at Libya, there are so many gangs waiting to make life uncomfortable for the people.”

“In our effort to prevent and rescue Nigerians, who have embarked on this journey, we partner with IOM and other foreign bodies to bring them back home. I would advise Nigerians not to embark on a journey to a country where you have no document and free will. Our people should get the normal and appropriate documents whenever they want to travel out.” Mr. Famakin said

Mr. Yakubu Suleiman, South West Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, who came to receive the returnees on behalf of the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, in his words, also beseeched the returnees to remain in Nigeria and maximally utilize their stay in the country.

He said, “These people travelled to Libya, illegally and they are being returned back to their country. They would be rehabilitated and engaged in entrepreneurship activities. We 'll ensure that they don’t go back to where they came from and I am advising them to remain in this country and let us change it together. Those that are lucky to come back have a second chance and they should use it maximally.”

The returnees were profiled upon return by different agencies that came to receive them and transported to different shelters where they would be rehabilitated before being allowed to return to their different homes.

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