Again, 171 Nigerians, who returned to the country yesterday from Libya, had tales of sorrow and anguish to tell. Emotions ran high as some of them broke down in tears as they recounted what they went through. The 171 returnees bring to 332 Nigerians who were brought back to the country in the past one week.
Last Tuesday, the International O rganisation for Migration (IOM), in conjunction with the Nigerian Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), had facilitated the return of 161 people who said it was God who saved them in a country they claimed was hostile to Nigerians.
Meanwhile, stranded Nigerians have been asked to take advantage of the last batch of evacuation expected to be done soon. Failure to take advantage of that could leave them in danger because after that it might be difficult getting IOM to continue to do that again. One of the returnees, Gift Peters, broke down in tears, saying she was deceived into embarking on what she claimed was a dangerous journey to Libya.
She said: “A man in Benin said he was going to take me to Germany but ended up in Libya. When I got to Libya, I asked him to take me back but he sold me into slavery. When they arrested me and others, they gave us urine to drink. It was not easy.”
Peters added that the suffering was just much. She said: “We beg the Nigerian government to come to the rescue of over 400 stranded Nigerians in that country. I saw my friends and the way they were killed was gory.”
Another returnee, Damola Oriade, said her sister engaged a man who would help her to Germany, but she ended up in Libya where she suffered terribly. She gave a chilly account of how Nigerians are being killed in Libya, saying she was happy to be back home.
Receiving them at the Hajj Camp of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said they should not be ashamed of the problems they went through in Tripoli.
She called for the strengthening of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) law that would help catch the traffickers. Dabiri-Erewa recalled that there was a time the Nigerian government received a distress call on the maltreatment of her nationals who were going through the worse of treatment in that country.
She said President Buhari was so touched and pained that he directed all of them should be brought back to avoid death and continuation of bestial treatment of Nigerians in that country.