About 136 Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya back to the country says The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Tuesday.
The Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office, Alh Idris, Abubakar Muhammad, said he received the returnees at the cargo terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, at about 11:50pm (Monday) on behalf of Federal government along with other national agencies. The returnees comprised 59 adult females, four female children and five female infants. There were also 63 adult males, two male children and three infant males.
The returnees were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) aboard a chartered Al Buraq Air with flight number UZ 189/15 and registration number DMG. The European Union is supporting the IOM in the return and reintegration of Nigerians brought back from Libya with funds.
Most Nigerians consider Libya as a transit point into Europe, but in recent years the North African country has proved a very hostile ground for such illegal transit guests, preferring instead to turn them into slaves rather than assist them to cross the Mediterranean sea into Europe.
One of the Nigerians who volunteered to be brought back by the IOM late Monday, Mr Kehinde Fatukasi, aged 42 years from Ekiti State said he left Nigeria in 2016 with his family for Libya only to end up being sold into slavery with his son.
“The Arabs treated us like slaves; you work without being paid; so many of us were killed while we were also watching the killings. All of us here don’t fear death anymore; we have seen what is more than hell,” said Fatukasi.
“The Libyans don’t care if you are black or not, the treatment given to us (blacks) is same they give to their Arab neighbours from Tunisia or Algeria.
“Once, they need someone to work those chosen must follow them, any refusal not to follow would mean that they will kill that person instantly.
“Those of us who decided to stay in Libya instead of crossing the Mediterranean sea did not suffer like those who intended crossing the Mediterranean sea; the Libyan law bans crossing by sea and those caught in the high sea trying to cross to Europe have hellish experiences in the hands of both Libyan and Europeans officials,” he added while sharing his experiences with reporters.