The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, has received the largest number of stranded Nigerian returnees in a batch from Libya since reptriation exercise began in 2017.
They are 195.
The Coordinator of NEMA Territorial Office in Lagos, Alhaji Idris Muhammed, received the Assisted Voluntary Returnees at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, Wednesday night.
He stated that the returnees were the 69th batch brought back by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, in a special intervention programme to repatriate stranded irregular migrants trapped in Libya with funding by the European Union.
Al Buraq Air from Sabha area with flight number UZ 389/22 and registration number 5A-DMG SEB arrived the Ikeja airport at 8:20 p.m.
The coordinator disclosed that the breakdown of the new returnees is female adults 71, female children 25 and female infants 17.
He added that male adults are 60, male children 12 and male infants are 10.
In all, the females are 113 while males are 82 with adults as 131, children as 37 and infants as 27 including 3 males with minor medical issues and seven pregnant women.
Alhaji Muhammed, while welcoming the batch urged youths to look inward and utilise the money they waste on embarking on dangerous journeys in Nigeria.
He said that “Since the EU has closed their borders for irregular migrants, the journeys through irregular means became wasteful and dangerous.
“If you have used the huge amount of money spent on these fruitless efforts in Nigeria to start a business, you would have been very successful in your endearvours.
“Therefore, you need to strive and embrace Federal Government enabling initiatives to empower the youths.”
A 66 years old, Evangelist Kehinde Gideon Obala, from Badagry who spent 10 years in Libya regretted his sojourn, saying that initially he was a successful business man and artisan.
He revealed that as a mechanic, Libyans liked him and he was successful until the war started.
“I sold tyres and motor spare parts and they liked my services. I had a church over there but everything I worked for were destroyed.
“Ordinarily, I never thought of coming back to Nigeria but when I was assured and promised that I would be resettled when I return home, I came back. I have wasted my life except IOM and the government are magnanimous enough to help me start from the scratch.”
Also, 55 years old Qasim Apena from Ogun State, who has gunshot wounds on the ankles of his two legs disclosed that he was a painter and was shot when he went for house painting business which would have fetched him some money.
He said problem started when he demanded for his money half way into the job, and was reluctantly given about N400,000 out of over N1 million.
“Immediately I got the money militants picked myself and my boys up, collected all the money in our possessions. But when I was struggling with them, I was shot on the legs and dumped in a dungeon where migrants are kept without medical treatment. I was helped by other migrants inside the underground camp to remove the bullets in my legs and thanks be to God the wounds healed,” he said.