By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A breakdown of Nigerians so far evacuated by the Federal government in the wake of alleged trading of African descent in Libya, on Thursday revealed that Edo State has the largest figure of 533, followed by Delta State with 128.
Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, who gave a breakdown of the figures yesterday during a media parley in Abuja, also revealed that another batch of over 400 were billed to return to the country yesterday.
She however appealed to state governments to make Paramount, the rehabilitation and welfare of returnees so as to discourage them from going back.
“As you may be aware, out of the over 5000 Nigerians already located in different detention camps in Libya, 972 in two batches of 485 and 487 have already returned. Another batch is expected today and more will continue to come back until the operations are completed. “Out of those that have returned so far, Edo State has 533 returnees, followed by Delta State with 128. Yobe State is next with 28, while Imo and Ogun States have 25 each. Ondo State has 17 and Oyo has 15.
“27 States have their indigenes so far returned, while 9 states and the Federal Capital Territory have not yet recorded any returnee”, she said.
The DG, who appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for the effort, which according to her, was a demonstration of the administration’s commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians wherever they reside, urged states to compliment the FG’s efforts.
“I wish to appeal to states that are already mounting pressure on the operations in Port Harcourt to take away their indigenes to ensure that those they are taking away are properly rehabilitated, as releasing them into the streets without rehabilitation and other assistance may spell doom for the country and damage the image of the country”, she said.
Okah-Donli stressed that any state government that was interested in the rehabilitation and reunification of returnees from their States must however, meet the minimum standard for sheltering, rehabilitation and reunification of victims, adding that NAPTIP as an agency was ready and willing to provide support in that regard.
She also called for collaboration from Nigerians and other organisations in the fight against human trafficking and other trans-border crime, noting that it was not something to be left to government alone.