NEMA Receives 495 Stranded Nigerian Returnees from Libya in Three Weeks

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has in the past three weeks received 495 stranded Nigerian returnees from Libya.

The agency had on October 1 received 166 Nigerians and repeated the feat on October 3, while the latest arrival of 173 yesterday rounded off the figure to 495.

The first batch of 166 indicated 48 adult female, one female child and seven infant female, as well as 93 adult male, five male children and seven infant male.

The second batch of 166 has 62 adult female, 18 female children and 11 female infants, as well as 48 adult male, 14 male children and eight infant male.

The last batch, on the other hand, has 52 adult female, four female children and four female infants as well as 106 adult male, two male children and five male infants.

At the wee hours of yesterday, the two batches of returnees who arrived the country in two different flights at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja in Lagos were handed over to NEMA Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, Alhaji Idris Abubakar Muhammed.

While a chartered aircraft belonging to Al Buraq Air with flight number BRQ18914 and registration number 5A-DMG MRA brought 162 from Misrata, a commercial aircraft brought 11 other returnees from Bengazil.

NEMA South-west spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye, said upon profiling the returnees on arrival, 21 persons had different medical issues.

One of the returnees, Miss Aishat Areni, aged 23, from Ogun State narrated how she was deceived with the promise of traveling to New York in United States of America with the opportunity to practise catering.

She said: “I just graduated as a catering apprentice and the aunty (trafficker) told me that she can help me to travel to USA where I can do my work better. She told me that she would pay for my transportation and that I would refund when I start working there.

“I did not know that she was deceiving me until we left and embarked on a long journey. It was my mates that revealed to me that it was Libya they were taking us to. I made trouble but it amounted to nothing.”

Areni said she also confirmed it when she got to Libya that there was no catering job waiting for her, rather she was told to take her place as a house help or be sold out to prostitute at Connection House, a prostitution network.

She said she worked for one year and three months during the course of which she paid her traffickers five months salaries of N90,000 per month.

On why she decided to return home, she said: “The the nature of the work is not ideal for human beings. I will advise whoever is thinking to go to Libya to have a rethink. The ongoing war in Libya makes the place so dangerous. One can be kidnapped, killed, raped and robbed. The frequent bombings going on n Libya do not help matter.

“I was already tired of what I was going through over there and I decided to join this batch to return to Nigeria. I was helped back to the country when my mother went to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) office to complain and a phone number of a staff of Nigerian Embassy was sent to me.

“It was the Embassy staff that facilitated my return to the country. I am grateful to the Nigerian government for helping me come back to my country.”