They include 48 female adults, two teenage girls, five baby girls, 53 adult males, five teenage boys, and three baby boys.
Some of the returnees recounted their horrific experience in Libya and want the Federal Government to prosecute human traffickers who mislead Nigerians with fake information on greener pastures that do not exist outside the country.
The IOM and the European Union have been repatriating Nigerians who want to return home voluntarily on the platform of the Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVR) programme.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received another 174 Nigerians from Libya.
The returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) onboard Al Buraq Air at 1:10 am on Friday.
They comprised 61 female adults, four female children and eight female infants, 91 male adults, six male children and four male infants and were received by the Acting Zonal Coordinator of NEMA South West Zonal Officer, Segun Afolayan and other Federal Government Agencies.
While receiving them, Afolayan advised the returnees to be mindful of information about getting rich quick, especially when it involves travelling outside the country illegally.
Narrating his ordeal, one of the returnees, Chukwudi Onyemechie, 30, from Anambra, said he was a successful auto tyres dealer at Ladipo Market in Lagos before he was deceived and promised of a better life in Europe.
According to him, a man convinced him that he could help him travel to France and then linked him to his friend in Libya.
Afterwards, he (Chukwudi) sold off his wares and took off to Benin Republic from where his journey to Libya began.
He said, “I was told that that the journey would be by road but I never knew that it was a deadly and dangerous route. I entered Libya town where I was taken to a camp controlled by Nigerians where I spent three months in detention.
“My trafficker organised my detention in other that I would be forced to pay him money.
“He asked me to pay some amount to another man who denied that I had paid. My trafficker claimed he settled the man and I had to double the amount.
“I left Nigeria in June, 2017, I experienced unstable and dangerous life over there.
“After struggling to cross unsuccessfully, I was helped to get to IOM office in Libya who helped me back to Nigeria today.
“I am proud to be a Nigerian, though, we have challenges, but we are better and I am happy to be back.
“My advice to youth is that they should never think of traveling to Libya for anything, if you must travel, it is better to take regular routes and seek proper information before taking a decision.
Another returnee, Ajasa Kikelomo who is a mother of one and hails from Ibadan, Oyo State, said she left Nigeria in 2016 with the hope of getting a better job.
Regretting her ordeal in Libya, she said, “I got to Libya with God as my savior but the racial discrimination by the Libyans are too bad.
“If you’re unfortunate to enter a bus and sit beside a Libyan, throughout the journey, the Libyan will not want your body to touch his own and he would cover his noise throughout.
“Though, some of them are very nice and good but majority, especially the youths don’t wish well for the blacks.”
According to her, she eventually got a job as a housemaid but encountered difficulties anytime she attempted to send money back home to her family. “If I want to send 20,000 naira to Nigeria, I must part away with N40,000 or N50,000 before my family will get the N20,000.
“There is no banking system there. Nigerians who had settled down are the launderers, they have their Nigerian bank accounts.
“Once we pay them in dinars, we don’t know how they transmit the money, but our families will receive what we agreed in their bank accounts here in Nigeria.
“I am not happy for the wasted years, if I had stayed back, I could have been more settled and successful.
“My husband left for Dubai last year but tonight he will be coming back too.
“Nigerians should be proud of what they have and work instead of travelling outside looking for what riches that are not available outside,” she said.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received a fresh batch of 120 stranded Nigerians from Libya.
The returnees who arrived at the MMIA Cargo Wing at about 9:15 pm on Thursday, via AL Buraq Air, were brought back with the help of the International Organisation for Migration.
They were received by the Acting Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Segun Afolayan and other Federal Government agencies.
The returnees comprised 29 female adults, five female children, four female infants, 75 male adults, two male children and five male infants.
According to NEMA, they were brought mainly from three cities of Sabha, Bram Alshati and Oubari.
While welcoming them back, Afolayan asked the returnees to make good use of the second chance afforded by the IOM and God Almighty after surviving the dangers of illegal migration.
one of the returnees, Miss Chisom Johnson, who said she is a professional stylist, narrated her ordeal to Channels Television.
She said, “I was deceived that I would get a better job at Germany as a stylist, there were 20 of us in the team and we were promised that we would fly to Germany but after two weeks, we found ourselves in Niger Republic.
“After three weeks we were in Libya, Madam told all of us that, we can’t cross over but we have to become prostitutes in order to refund her money which was 1.4 million naira.
“I resorted to fervent prayers and pleaded with madam that it is a taboo in our family to prostitute.
“I pleaded with her to give another option. I was asked to work at a restaurant and was able to refund her money.
“Immediately I finished paying her money, I started working on my own to get some money but my madam organised my kidnapped and I was bailed by her with about N650,000 and she doubled the amount and said that I must pay her N1.3 million.
“I paid her by doing all sorts of work.
“I left Nigeria in 2014. I returned with nothing to show for the wasted four years.
“I want to beg those people thinking about travelling illegally to desist. There is nothing better outside Nigeria. Is it the freedom to move around, is it the liberty to engage in work without fear of hoodlums breaking into your house and taking away your sweat because there is no banking system for us? We have to keep our cash with us and the boys invade us to take it away.
“Nigerians should stay and look for better opportunities here please”.
The Federal Government has evacuated a total of 2,091 Nigerians from Libya, since the outbreak of the illegal migration that has sparked global reactions.
A data from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) showed a breakdown of the figures in batches as obtained by Channels Television on Friday.
In the first batch of Nigerian returnees, 488 comprising 395 males, 88 females and five children arrived from the troubled North African country where they were subjected to dehumanizing conditions referred to as modern slavery.
It was observed that Edo State topped the list with 273 males, 65 females and 2 children while Bayelsa, Benue, Kano and Nassarawa States, on the other hand, had the least representation with just one male. Kogi and Ondo states similarly had just one female representation each.
Edo State also led the list of the second batch of Nigerians with at least 224 people comprising 171 males, 49 females, and 4 children. Next in line was Delta State with 51 people comprising 39 males and 12 females. On the contrary, Benue State had no representation at all.
Statistics making the third batch of Nigerian returnees was far different from the first and second as Yobe State shockingly led other states of the federation with only 243 males. Edo came a distant second with 132 people cutting across 72 males, 55 females and five children. Ekiti, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara and Sokoto states had the least with just one representation each.
Of the 465 Nigerians making the fourth batch, Edo state bounced back with a leading 182 representing 120 males, 55 female, and seven children. Delta came a distant second with 43 males, 25 females leading to 68 people. Last on the least are Benue, Adamawa, Kano and Katsina states with one each.
The 134-man list making the fifth batch has Edo State leading with 44 male, 14 female, and two children bringing the total to 60 persons. Also, Delta State came far second with 16 persons consisting of 13 male, two female and a child. Ebonyi, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Kano and Rivers States came least with one representation each.
Another batch of 465 libya returnees have arrived the country as part of the Federal Government’s evacuation program for Nigerians stranded in Libya.
They arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport at about 12:25 am on Friday February 2, on board Max Air.
The returnees were received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), alongside other relevant agencies.
Over the last couple of months, several Nigerians have been repatriated in batches especially after news of slave trading and brutal treatment of Africans attempting to cross over to Europe, sparked global outrage.
According to reports, the migrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the European shores are placed in detention centers across Tripoli, leaving most of them with the option of returning to their home countries.
About 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014 while more than 12,000 have died in the process.
While many prominent Nigerians lent their voices to bringing an end to the situation, the government also said it will do all it can to ensure all Nigerians trapped in Libya are brought back home.
In November, the National Assembly pushed for talks between the Nigerian government and its Libyan counterpart.
In its resolution, the Senate urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to invite the Libyan Ambassador to Nigeria and discuss how to end the slave trade in the country, which had drawn widespread condemnation.
Yobe State government on Saturday, January 20 received 216 returnees from Libya out of which 33 were citizens of the Republic of Niger.
Commissioner of Justice in the state, Ahmed Mustapha, told journalists while dispatching the returnees to their various Local Government Areas, that after security checks, it was discovered that 33 of the returnees were foreigners while some others were from neighbouring Borno State.
Arrangements according to him have been concluded to link the deportees with officials of the Republic of Niger.
“After security checks, we discovered that 33 were from the Niger Republic and we are handing them over to the Nigeria Immigration Service who will also ensure they are taking back to their country,” he said.
The 182 who are from the state were however handed over to the local government authorities who in turn will reunite them with their families.
The state Controller of Immigration, Adamu Abdulfatai on his part said after fishing out the 33 foreigners, immigration will follow due process and hand them over to the immigration officials in the Niger Republic.
“We will be professional in linking up with the authorities of Niger Republic to ensure that they reunite with their families,” Abdulfatai said.
The Permanent Secretary, Yobe State Emergency Management Agency, Idi Jidawa recall the role played by the state government in transporting the returnees back to the state. He said the families were appreciative of reuniting them with the returnees.
“We are receiving report across council areas how families are excited to reunite with them,” he said.
Some of the deportees in an interview with Channels Television appreciates the role played by the government in reuniting them with their families and calls for empowerment to enable them to acquire means of livelihoods.
The Ogun State Government has received 64 of Libya returnees who are indigenes of the state.
Receiving them at the June 12 Cultural Centre in Abeokuta, the state capital, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Bolaji Oyeleye, said the move was facilitated with the assistance of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“We were contacted by NEMA to come and take responsibility for our people. This we responded to swiftly. We thereafter created a means through which these returnees could contact their relatives so that they can go home and reunite with the rest of their families,” he said.
The Commissioner also explained that upon confirmation as natives of the state, the state government had been responsible for their welfare including stipends for transportation back to their various homes so as to reunite with their respective families.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Adedayo Adeneye expressed pleasure of the state at receiving the returnees.
He, however, advised them, especially the youths, to focus on exploiting opportunities that abound in the country rather than attempt to relocate to foreign lands by all means.
Adeneye added, “My advice to youths, who may want to embark on a similar journey as these returnees, is that the grass is sometimes not greener on the other side, if they put the same resources and efforts into doing something meaningful here, they can make it. People make it here every day. We all have the responsibility of doing our bit in order to get our country to where we desire it to be.”
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment, Ogechi Ololo said the returnees will be trained on marketable skills that can help them get a job and also become an employer of labour.
“It is very important for you to know that your governor loves you. We have heard what happened, we know some of you won’t wish your worst enemy to go trough what you went through. We want you to also be an advocate, speak out and tell, others not to join this,” Ololo said.
She added that under the Ministry of Happiness the Career Centers will train the returnees on skill acquisition and find a way to incorporate them back into the society.
She said the state government is willing to support them in all ramification and ensure that they find a means of livelihood.
She asked Nigerians who might be insisting on embarking on such journeys to learn from the bitter experience of the returnees from the North African country.
“Anybody thinking of going on that journey should just perish the thoughts because you are not likely to survive it,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
“All those who have returned will tell you that it’s not just worth it. They’ve been to hell and back; they have a second chance.”
Following the efforts of the Nigerian Government to repatriate stranded citizens in Libya, the presidential aide warned that Nigerians who still go to the country might have to face the risk.
She said: “There is a deadline to bring them (stranded Nigerians) back. Once we bring everybody back and you are still going, really you are putting yourself into trouble.”
Dabiri-Erewa gave the warning following the arrival of 490 stranded Nigerians at the Port Harcourt International Airport, the first batch of more than 5,000 persons that are expected to return to the country.
Those who were also on ground to receive the returnees were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, as well as heads of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) among others.
While Mr Onyeama briefed reporters on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives which facilitated the return, the Director-General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, explained why the government chose the airport for the process.
On her part, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, said the repatriation process is a continuous exercise.
She said: “Over 400 (people) came in and we are expecting another 500, about a thousand roughly but it’s a continuous exercise.
“We are going to be bringing more and more but right now, we are doing a lot of profiling and we are looking at over 5,000 (returnees).”