De­spite mas­sive repa­tri­a­tion, Nige­ri­ans still troop to Libya

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, La­gos

De­spite con­tin­u­ing ef­forts of the Fed­eral Govern­ment to evac­u­ate stranded Nige­ri­ans from Libya, ef­forts which have been on since 2016 with over 2000 Nige­ri­ans as­sisted back home, more Nige­ri­ans still throng the North African coun­try, Daily Trust can re­port.

The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM), a United Na­tions hu­man­i­tar­ian agency, has been col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (NEMA) and other agen­cies of govern­ment to re­turn Nige­ri­ans back home.

From 2006 till date, no fewer than 42 trips have been car­ried out to bring back the stranded thou­sands of Nige­ri­ans, with vir­tu­ally all of them re­count­ing hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ences in Libyan de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Most of them spent months and years in de­ten­tion be­fore help came to them while some died in the process, ac­cord­ing to ac­counts nar­rated by the re­turnees.

The lat­est set of Nige­ri­ans evac­u­ated from Libya ar­rived the Mur­tala Muhammed In­ter­na­tional Air­port (MMIA) cargo ter­mi­nal on Thurs­day with 128 mak­ing the trip. Six of them had med­i­cal cases with one hav­ing three gun­shot wounds and was brought out from the air­plane with a stretcher.

But the hor­ri­ble tales have not helped to dis­suade peo­ple from em­bark­ing on the trip.

An IOM of­fi­cial who spoke with our cor­re­spon­dent, said, “More peo­ple are still go­ing to Libya from Nige­ria. They em­bark on the dan­ger­ous trip through the desert hop­ing to cross the Mediter­ranean Sea to pro­ceed to Europe. I don’t know what they are do­ing in Libya be­cause the coun­try is bat­tling with its in­ter­nal se­cu­rity chal­lenges. There are these mili­tia groups in­volved in or­ga­nized crimes against un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. And Libya at the mo­ment is fac­ing dis­in­te­gra­tion threat. When you say you are go­ing there for greener pas­tures, can you achieve any­thing mean­ing­ful in that di­rec­tion?”

But a re­tired As­sis­tant Con­troller Gen­eral of Im­mi­gra­tion, Al­haji Ab­dulMumeen Ab­dul­ma­lik who spoke to our cor­re­spon­dent said Nige­ri­ans would con­tinue to leave the coun­try un­less the govern­ment tack­led the eco­nomic re­ces­sion and lack of jobs.

“Peo­ple go out­side the coun­try to seek eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties that are lack­ing here,” Ab­dul­ma­lik said.

The Zonal Co­or­di­na­tor of NEMA in the South West, Al­haji Su­laiman Yakubu who re­ceived the lat­est re­turnees on be­half of the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Engr. Mustapha Mai­haja, said the agency had stepped up en­light­en­ment cam­paign on the risk of trav­el­ling to Libya.

“We are also telling the youths that the Fed­eral Govern­ment has put in place a lot of ini­tia­tives to em­power the youths. We have the YouWin pro­gramme, we have the N-Power pro­gramme and oth­ers,” Yakubu said.

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