Metro

195 stranded Nigerians in Libya return home

43 'criminal' Nigerians deported from 3 Europe arrive Lagos

No fewer than 195 Nigerians that were stranded in Libya have been received back home by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of the agency, Alhaji Idris Muhammed, while confirming the development to newsmen in Ikeja, said the number of the returnees was the largest since the exercise commenced in April 2017.

According to him, the returnees arrived at the Muhammed said Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja at 8.20p.m. on Wednesday in a chartered Al Buraq Air aircraft with registration number 5A-DMG SEB.

He told newsmen that the arriving people were the 69th batch of returnees brought back by the International Organisation for Migration and the European Union under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme.

It was revealed that returnees comprise of 71 female adults, 25 female children and 17 female infants.

“They also include 60 male adults, 12 male children and 10 male infants.

“Among them were three male returnees with minor medical issues and seven pregnant women”, Muhammed said.

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Welcoming the returnees, he urged Nigerian youths to eschew embarking on migration that put their lives at risk, the money they had set aside for embarking on perilous journeys could be used to set up good businesses in the country.

“Since the EU closed their borders to irregular migrants, the journeys through irregular means have become wasteful and dangerous.

“If you had used the huge amounts of money spent on these fruitless efforts in Nigeria to start a business, you would have been very successful in your endeavours.

“Therefore, you need to strive and embrace the Federal Government’s enabling initiatives to empower the youths,” Muhammed said.

One of the returnees, Mr Kehinde Obala from Badagry, Lagos, regretted his sojourn in the volatile North African country.

The 66 years old man said he was a successful mechanic and pastor in Libya until the war broke out and he lost everything.

“I had a church over there but everything I worked for was destroyed.

“Ordinarily, I never thought of coming back to Nigeria but when I was assured and promised that I will be resettled when I return home that was why I came back.

“I have wasted my life except IOM and government are magnanimous enough to help me start from the scratch,” he said.

Meanwhile, NEMA said as of March 15, 12,574 Nigerians have so far returned from Libya under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme, which began in April 2017, adding that over 4,900 of the returnees have also been trained on various skill acquisition and empowerment training by IOM through special funding facilitated by the EU.

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