Chinedu Eze

About 171 Nigerians who were stranded in Libya since the crisis in the North African country started, have returned home.

They arrived at the cargo terminal of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) aboard a Burac Air chartered flight with registration number TNSIB (UZ189/190).

THISDAY gathered that the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) collaborated to bring back the returnees.

Officials of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced (NCFRMI) also were on hand to help the returnees.Those brought back yesterday were 95 females made up of 83 adults, 10 children and two infants while males comprised 73 adults, two children and one infant.

The Deputy Director Search and Rescue, NEMA, Dr. Bandele Onimode, who represented the Director General of the agency, Alhaji Mohammed Sidi, said between December 15, 2016 and yesterday, a total of 643 Nigerians had been repatriated. He added that a new born baby was also among those that were brought back home.

Onimode said NEMA in collaboration with other government agencies would ensure the rehabilitation of the returnees, saying state governments in South-south which have high number of returnees should also collaborate in the rehabilitation process.

“There’s a strong collaboration between IOM and NEMA. Usually the IOM in Nigeria will inform us that the IOM mission in Libya had done some coordination and they have been able to get some of these Nigerians who are ready to come back home. Usually they would give us this information like four, five days before their departure.

“This number keeps fluctuating. Sometimes it reduces and sometimes it decreases but the real figure we are giving is what we received at the tarmac. So it is collaboration between IOM Nigeria and IOM mission in Libya.”

Federal Commissioner, NCFRMI, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, said the commission is organising sensitisation campaign to discourage Nigerians especially the youths from leaving the country and believing that they are searching for greener pastures, which they risk their lives believing they would get something better overseas,” Onimode said.