From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, said it has successfully evacuated over 3000 Nigerians to the country.
This was even as the government received 418 Nigerian returnees from the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The repatriated Nigerians, according to the Director, Consular and Legal Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Akinremi Bolaji, were evacuated from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Germany, amongst others.
Speaking at the Permanent Hajj Camp, Bassan-Jiwa, Abuja, venue of a media interactive session on the efforts of government on the evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad, Bolaji said the current set of evacuees were from Saudi Arabia.
Bolaji added that the returnees from Saudi Arabia were camped in three batches, disclosing that the first batch that arrived Monday were 255; Tuesday witnessed the arrival of 398 and 418 arrived Wednesday.
“All of them will be staying in this facility… We are not just housing them, we are making provision for a new life where the Federal Government is providing N20,000 per person of adult, at least, of 10 years old upward for two reasons: To transport them, part of it, back to where they came or their state. And also, to be able to start a little survival, maybe start a little business because we believe it is something you can start.
“Within a period of two months now, we have received over 3000 Nigerians. The focus is not just on Saudi Arabia, we also just two weeks ago, received the IOM-facilitated returnees from Libya. We had 170 of them that came in two batches.
“We have also received returnees from other places; from Germany, and we are expecting from South Africa.
“So, government is doing everything to ensure that Nigerians who are in crisis outside the shores of Nigeria and that deserve to be lifted, are airlifted. We are expecting more from Libya and all other parts,” Bolaji said.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, said in the last two months, particularly in January 2021, NAPTIP was able to profile 1,250 returnees from Saudi Arabia.
Sulaiman-Ibrahim also said in March 2021, NAPTIP profiled 117 returnees from Libya and currently, with the recent returnees, NAPTIP was able to profile 537 who were all captured.
“So, this helps the government to be able to plan towards any future intervention, to ensure that these people are being able to reintegrate into the society properly and they are properly rehabilitated,” Sulaiman-Ibrahim said.
Speaking about the categories of the returnees, Sulaiman-Ibrahim said some of them were trafficked, some were willing participants, some who travelled for greener pastures, while some were even born in Saudi Arabia.
On the nationality of the returnees, Sulaiman-Ibrahim said out of almost 1,250 people profiled by NAPTIP in January, only five people were non Nigerians.
“So, a lot of them are citizens and the ones that are non Nigerians are from the ECOWAS countries. And we make the right kind of arrangement to ensure that they get home as well,” Sulaiman-Ibrahim also said.