Lagos: 153 Nigerian migrants returned from Libya

As part of an ongoing effort to return Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya, a group of 153 migrants were voluntarily returned to Lagos on 28 August 2019. They were received at the airport by the National Emergency Management Agency.

The Nigerians were brought home via the Assisted Voluntary Returnees Programme of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union (EU), according to Mustapha Maihajja, the Director-General of NEMA. Maihajja also said that the returnees include 59 women, 78 men and 16 children and infants.

At least 10,000 Nigerian migrants returned from Libya between April 2017 and October 2018. In Edo State alone, at least 5,000 migrants have been brought home from Libya in the past two years.

According to Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, many Nigerians are considering irregular migration due to a “humanitarian crisis arising from insurgency and the drying up of Lake Chad.” 

In response to the increase in emigration, the Government of Nigeria has developed an inter-agency system as part of its plan to curb irregular migration and assist in the return of migrants stranded in Libya.

Other agencies participating in the return of migrants include the Nigeria Immigration Service and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

Libya is one of the main transit countries for Nigerians attempting to reach Europe irregularly. However, many end up stranded in the war-torn country, where they are at risk of being kidnapped, beaten, sold into slavery and even killed.

The UNHCR estimates that around 6,000 irregular migrants are currently held in extremely poor conditions at detention centres in Libya. There have also been reports of detained migrants caught in the crossfire of the ongoing Libyan conflict.

TMP – 16/09/2019

Photo credit: dailypost. Photo caption: Stranded Nigerian migrants upon arrival from Libya

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