Group calls for the release of Nigerian irregular migrants detained in Libya

The Migration Enlightenment Project Nigeria (MEPN) has urged the Government of Nigeria to request the release of Nigerians in various camps in Libya. This call comes as the number of Nigerians returning to Nigeria hits 10,000, through an initiative by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for Special Assisted Voluntary Repatriation Programme.

“The MEPN would like to use this opportunity to note that thousands of Nigerians may still be stranded in Libya and other transit countries,” said Kenneth Gbandi and Femi Awoniyi of the MEPN in a statement. “The case of a group of recent Nigerian returnees, who were held captive inside a government-run detention centre in the Libyan town of Zawiya indicates that many Nigerians could still be in forcible custody in the North African country.”

Worried that many Nigerians are still held in various detention camps in Libya, MEPN asked the Nigerian government to demand a list of Nigerians being detained in Libyan facilities, and release them immediately so they could return home.

“The case of the Nigerian migrants should serve as a lesson to young Nigerians and deter them from embarking on the dangerous journey to reach Europe without a visa. The MEPN calls on young Nigerians to seek legal ways of migrating as thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives in the past five years in the process of irregular migration,” the statement added.

Human rights activist, Chidiebere Eze, urged the Nigerian government to work on increasing the number of jobs to tackle youth unemployment, saying that employment will help reduce the economically motivated irregular migration.

Clement Osadolor, a migration expert, said despite the conditions in Libya, many of the returned migrants are still preparing to embark on another irregular trip at the earliest opportunity.

“Yes, it is true that many Nigerians are in detention out there in Libya. But, it is also true that even those who have been brought back to Nigeria are still looking for a way to migrate again irregularly,” he said. “The government must declare a state of emergency on job creation. The rate of unemployment is frightening and that is largely responsible for this irregular migration trend. People are made to believe that life is a bed of roses out there.”

TMP – 09/11/2018

Photo credit: Nigerians in detention camps in Libya

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