Early this morning, the Nigerian government received another batch of 162 Nigerians stranded in Libya. The returnees were received at 3:30am on Wednesday by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
They were returned via Libyan Airlines. Idris Muhammed, the Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office of NEMA, received the returnees on arrival at the cargo wing of the airport. The returnees consisted of 100 females, including four pregnant women and 62 males. After profiling, it was revealed that they included 82 adult females, 13 female children, five female babies, 50 male adults, four boys and 13 male babies.Two of the returnees had medical cases and were taken away in an ambulance.
Commenting on the latest returnees, Muhammed decried the huge number of Nigerians stranded in the North African country. He enjoined the returnees to be agents of positive change and take up the challenge against irregular migration by telling whoever wants to embark on such a dangerous journey to desist from it.
“Migration is protected by international and national statutes for movement of people through proper regularisation of papers that would protect and save you against risks of irregular migrations,” he said. Muhammed added that NEMA hosted a team from the European Union on monitoring and evaluation of the special European Union (EU) intervention on assisted voluntary return of migrants.
NEMA interfaced with them on ways of improving the present European Assisted Voluntary Returnees projects being run by International Organisations for Migration (IOM). He said gaps were identified especially on logistics, which were causing nightmares to stakeholders and the returnees, but on the whole, the rescheduling of aircraft charter flights would be improved upon.
The exercise, which began in April 2017, is expected to end by April 2020 and about 8,808 returnees have so far been repatriated home to Nigeria from North Africa.