Yesterday, August 23, a total of 241 Nigerians arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. The Nigerians were all returning from Libya after encountering problems with immigration, NEMA received them, promised to take care of them and ensure their integration.
On Tuesday, August 23, about 241 Nigerians arrived at the cargo section of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. They returned after they allegedly realized they could no longer stay in Libya and were facing numerous problems.
These type of returnees are known as Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVRs). They came back aboard a Libyan Airlines’ Airbus A330-200 chartered flight and filled the lobby of the Murtala Airport in Lagos with their belongings. According to the Guardian, most of them were stranded in Libya after many failed attempts to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
Some of them also had immigration problems that landed them in prisons. Most of the returnees were between the ages of 15 and 25, of which there are at least nine under-aged. Four of the returnees had serious injuries from gunshots and had to be taken to hospital immediately.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) arranged their return to Nigeria after they volunteered to return. This is the third exercise of this kind and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other related Matters (NAPTIP) are ensuring the welfare of the returnees. Nahashon Maina Thuo, an official of IOM in Lagos said that they would each be given the sum of about N15, 000 to assist them return to their various states of origin and destinations.
Also some of them would receive assistance to startup small businesses, while the critically ill would have their medical bills covered to certain extent. Director of relief and rehabilitation at NEMA, Aliu Bafada Sambo asserted that it was the responsibility of the agency to receive them from IOC, accommodate them and ensure that they are taken home towns within Nigeria.
Sambo said: “They returned voluntarily. They were not deported. They had immigration issues in Libya and are returning home on their own volition. We will have them returned to their states as quick as possible. These are our Nigerian brothers and sisters; they are not strangers. Some of them have even expressed willingness right from here to return to their states. So, we will do that. We will organize transport right to their states and probably to their respective local governments.
On June 15, about 167 Nigerians returned from Libya. It was learnt there are still more Nigerians stranded in Libya that may soon be repatriated home.” Meanwhile, the NSCDC has reported that a notorious ring of human traffickers were apprehended in the Ondo state capital, Akure. The ring were specialized in trading teenage girls for prostitution and illicit jobs within and outside Nigeria.
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