By Louis Iba
No fewer than 162 Nigerians who entered Libya illegally have been brought back to the country. The returnees comprised 132 males, 27 females, two female children and one male child and they came aboard a Chadames Air aircraft marked 5A WAT and they arrived at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport around 2.50pm.
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Daily Sun learnt that they had voluntarily opted to return back to Nigeria having been stranded for possibly months in Libya without any form of accommodation and access to any job. “They were stranded in the North African country and voluntarily sought to return to Nigeria and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Nigerian Embassy in Libya did everything possible to assist bring them back,” said a source at the Lagos airport. “In fact three of the returnees were very sick when they came back. one of them had burns all over his body and was writhing in pains. Two of them were brought back in a stretcher and they had to be wheeled into an ambulance for urgent medical attention,” the source added.
On hand to receive them were officials from the Port Health Services, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP).
According to IOM’s operations assistant, Mr. Juma Ben Hassan, one of the men had a motor accident while the one that who had burns stayed in a house that was gutted by fire.
He said all the six occupants except the Nigerian died.
He said the man who was first hospitalized in Libya later requested to return to the country.
Hassan said it was the second time IOM would assist Nigerians to return home adding that in a few months’ time, another batch of returnees would be brought back.
The returnees first had to be profiled by NEMA officials to ascertain that they were Nigerians before being allowed into the country .