Chinedu Eze and Chiemelie Ezeobi
More Nigerians have been saved from slavery and trafficking in war-torn Libya, as another 275 citizens were airlifted to the country a few hours after a batch of 144 Nigerians were returned Tuesday night.
The first batch of returnees was returned at 9 p.m. on Tuesday while the latest returnees touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at about 1.30 a.m. yesterday.
The returnees comprising 65 adult females, 179 adult males, seven children and six infants were happy that they escaped the tortuous and precarious life in Libya, where many of them wanted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
The spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-west Zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said the returnees arrived aboard a Libyan Airlines aircraft at the cargo wing of the airport.
He said they were assisted back to Nigeria by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU).
He also confirmed that four of the returnees had medical cases and were promptly taken away on an ambulance for treatment.
He said the returnees were received by officials of NEMA, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Last week Thursday, a batch of 150 Nigerians was airlifted back to the country and also on Tuesday night another batch of 144 was brought back to the country in continuation of the massive repatriation plan to bring all Nigerians stranded in the North African country back to Nigeria.
No fewer than 1,295 Nigerians in Libya were rescued in November alone, with more of them expected to be repatriated before the end of the year, following reports that more Nigerian migrants were languishing in either Libyan cells or deportation camps, and several of them were being sold into slavery.
The repatriation of the stranded Nigerians, which started in 2016, is in collaboration with the IOM, which has been providing the chartered aircraft to convey the returnees.