Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Nigerian migrants return from Libya with tales of horror

CNN slaves 401 Illegal Nigerian Migrants returns from Libya; What Now?
Melinda Barton | 06 December, 2017, 18:52

No less than 257 more Nigerians returned home from Libya on Wednesday morning after the return of 144 earlier on Tuesday evening.

The first set of returnees, who arrived at the cargo area of the airport aboard a Boeing 737 aircraft on Tuesday night, consists of 39 female, 97 male, two children and six infants.

Alabi also confirmed that four of the returnees had medical cases and were promptly taken away on an ambulance for treatment.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 423,000 migrants have been identified in the chaotic North African country, a lot of them from impoverished countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

On ground to welcome the returnees were officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Police.

According to the reports, the migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the European shores are placed in detention centres across Tripoli, leaving majority with the option of returning to their home countries.

"It's heartbreaking, especially when I see a 13-year-old come with a baby", said Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to Nigeria's president on diaspora and foreign affairs.

The African Union (AU) has agreed to evacuate some 15,000 African migrants in Libya before the end of year.

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The EU for its part said it would pressure the UN-backed government in Libya to prosecute the slave traders and push for improvements in conditions at migrant detention centres.

The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Tiwatope Elias-Fatiile, on Tuesday, said the country's embassy in Libya had been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration. The continental body will help to issue emergency travel documentation and facilitate travel, he said.

The ministry also explained that the embassy, in collaboration with the IOM, repatriates 250 migrants weekly and had returned 3,000 of them so far.