NEMA, NATPTIP Receives 14 Pregnant Women, 24 Kids, 100 Returnees from Libya

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

No fewer than 14 pregnant women, 24 children and 100 others were among the 138 returnees who yesterday evening arrived the cargo wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.

The comprehensive breakdown of returnees were given as 106 female adults, three female children, eight male adults, 18 male children and three male infants.

The returnees were received by the Zonal Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Suleiman Yakubu and the Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr. Joseph Famakinwa.

Although the flight was delayed for hours, the aircraft 5A-ONO Afriqiyah with flight number Brq-189/190 finally touched down at about 6.26pm.

After the returnees disembarked from the flight, the agencies on ground led by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) profiled and fed them before giving them the allocated stipend approved by the IOM.

This batch of returnees has increased the total of returnees that came back from Libya just this month to 318 persons.

The first batch of 180 persons were on Thursday, August 10, received at the airport in accordance with the figures quoted in a previous interview with the Director General NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli.

Okah-Donli who was in Lagos last week had disclosed that for the month of August, a total of 540 Nigerians were expected from Libya.

She had also disclosed that this year alone, over 2000 Nigerians have been deported from Libya alone.

One of the returnees, Salimat Ibrahim, who swore revenge of her trafficker said she was lured to Libya with the promise of getting a job as a hair stylist .

She said, “We suffered a lot, especially at the detention camp. I spent five months there before I was brought back to Nigeria.

“Sadly, it was a Nigerian and a fellow woman like me that did this to me and hundreds of other young girls. Knowing that I was a hair stylist back home in Kogi, the woman promised me that I will continue it over there but with better pay.

“After I agreed, I and several others were brought to Lagos from where our journey began. Contrary to what we were told, we were put into a hilux truck.

“We were packed like cattle and we spent one month crisscrossing our way to Libya. Again, contrary to what we were told, immediately we got to Libya, the story changed.

“All the promises turned to ashes. We wet suffering when we were fortunately arrested and taken to the detention camp where another round of suffering began.

“At the detention camp, the officials treated us like animals. The water we drank was deadly. We the females suffered countless infections. It was joy galore when we were finally prepared to come home.”

Speaking on the incident, NEMA zonal coordinator, who represented the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihajja, said the federal government has constantly warned all those who engage in any type of trafficking at any level in and out of the the country.

He said, “Parents and relatives of returnees have been discovered to be fully involved in aiding their wards in their illegal and deadly journeys.

“The activities of the traffickers and their conspirators are getting too embarrassing. Trafficking can be equalled to corruption as those involved are misleading and denying young victims of brighter and promising future.

“Many parents and relations sold their properties to send these young ones to the so-called greener pastures that doesn’t exist and the young are bargained out because of the greed of their parents.

“Today, we have received a total of 138 returnees via Airbus A320 with registration number ONO and Flight BRQ 189/190.

“As at date, about 2, 232 returnees have been brought back to Nigeria by IOM from March 2016 till day and NEMA alongside other stakeholders have receiving, rehabilitating and reintegrating the returnees back to society accordingly.”