Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

Alex Enumah in Abuja

A high-powered federal government delegation wednesday departed Abuja for Tripoli, the Libyan capital on a fact-finding mission on the level of the enslavement of Nigerians in that country.

It also plans the mass evacuation of Nigerians trapped in the North African country.

According to a statement from the Press and Public Relations Unit of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the delegation which is led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, included NAPTIP’s Director General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, Hon. Abike Dabiri Erewa among others.

The statement disclosed that the delegation departed the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, aboard the Nigeria Air Force Flight N5FGS.

The Head of the unit, Josiah Emerole, who signed the statement, said the fact-finding mission would among other things engage with the Libyan, authorities, Nigerian officials and citizens living in Libya as well as international organisations working on migration issues in Libya.

“It will be recalled that following reports of the enslavement of Nigerian Migrants in Libya which has raised a lot of concerns in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the evacuation of all Nigerians trapped in the North African country back to Nigeria.

“He also set up a team led by the foreign affairs minister to work out modalities for carrying out the mass evacuation. Since then, a number of high level meetings have been held among various federal government agencies.
“Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo has also presided over some of those meetings.

For the NAPTIP Director-General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, the agency is ready to assist victims of human trafficking who will be amongst those returning to Nigeria to get properly reintegrated back into the Nigerian society,” the statement noted.

Emerole added that, the agency’s counsellors are fully ready to receive the returnees and give them the needed psychosocial assistance for proper reintegration into the society.

“We will also help them with all the necessary tools to sustain themselves including vocational training and education assistance. This will be done with assistance from government, corporate bodies and the international organisations.

“This is not the time for anybody to stand aloof and watch the federal government alone do it. All hands must be on deck now, because doing nothing will affect all of us,” the NAPTIP DG was quoted as saying.