FG evacuates 111 Nigerians from Libya

Another batch of Nigerian emigrants, including women and children who were evacuated from Libya, arrived in the country in the late hours of Monday.

The South-west Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mr. Iyiola Akande revealed that out of 162 Nigerians originally scheduled to depart Tripoli, only 111 were received on arrival.

The evacuation was made possible by the Nigerian embassy in Libya, with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration, NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Recounting their ordeals, the returnees lamented the treatment meted on them by the post-war Transitional Ruling Council in the north African country.



At least 50 Nigerians evacuated from Syria- Ashiru

About 50 Nigerian s have been evacuated from Syria following the ongoing crises in the country, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbega Ashiru said on Monday.

Mr Ashiru said that the evacuees complied with government’s directive to leave Syria and he advised others to vacate the Middle East nation.

“We have evacuated quite a lot of Nigerians from Syria. It was not an airlift exercise like we did in the case of Libya because they are very few.

“From the report I got, those moved so far are less than 50, long before the situation deteriorated we advised them to move.

“Some have decided to stay behind but it is their choice,” he said.

The minister also said that the families of the Charge d’Affairs and officials at the embassy had been relocated to the neighbouring nation of Lebanon “and they are very safe there.”

March 15, 2011 marked the beginning of the crisis in the troubled Middle Eastern nation, with public demonstrations as part of the wider Arab spring and developed into a nationwide uprising.

Tribal clash in Libya kills 20, injures 40

Atleast 40 were wounded while 20 people were killed on Monday in the city of Sabha in southern Libya when clashes erupted between two rival militias.

Local council member Ahmed Abdelkadir said clashes first broke out on Sunday between former rebel fighters from Sabha and gunmen from the Tibu tribe after a Sabha man was killed in a dispute over a car. He said the militias opened fire at each other on the outskirts of Sabha.

A local doctor, Ibrahim Misbah, said 20 fighters died of gunshot wounds and more than 40 people were wounded.

“The numbers are from the Sabha side only. The Tibu wounded are being taken to a different hospital,” he said by phone.

Sabha fighter Oweidat al-Hifnawi said the fighting centered around the airport road and that at one point Tibu fighters controlled the entrance of the airport.

“The airport is now under our control but it is not functioning at the moment,” Hifnawi said.

The clashes come as the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) struggles to assert its authority across Libya, where rival militias and tribal groups are jostling for power and resources following the fall of Gaddafi.

“The situation is very dangerous and sensitive. We are following the situation and the army chief is working on sending a defence team to Sabha,” deputy interior minister Omar al-Khadrawi said.

The NTC is hampered by the lack of a coherent national army and has struggled to persuade the myriad militias who fought Gaddafi to put down their guns and join the armed forces and police.

Last month dozens of people were killed in days of clashes between tribes in the far southeastern province of Al Kufra. Armed forces eventually intervened to stop the fighting in a rare example of the Tripoli government imposing its authority.

Members of the Tibu ethnic group, who were also involved in fighting Kufra, are mainly found in Chad but also inhabit parts of southern Libya.

Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood sets up political party

Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood teamed up with other Islamists on Friday to establish a new political party that is set to be a leading player in the country’s first elections since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.

Islamist and secular parties will vie in June elections for seats in a national assembly that will draft a new constitution for the North African country.

Political analysts say Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as the most organised political force and a leading player in the oil-exporting country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.

Post-uprising elections have already brought Islamists into government in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are likely to perform well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the revolution.

Lamine Belhadj, who heads the committee that is working to set up the new party, told Reuters at a conference on Friday it would bring together Islamists of different stripes.

“This is the founding conference of a national, civil party with an Islamic frame of reference.

It is being established by the Muslim Brotherhood and many independents who are not affiliated with any Islamic organisations,” he said.
Belhadj, a senior official in the National Transitional Council (NTC) and a member of the commission responsible for organising the elections, said the new party had yet to be named and its leaders had not been chosen as consultations were under way between the Brotherhood and other groups.

Abdullah Shamia, an economics professor and member of the Brotherhood since its days as an underground organisation, said the new party would be independent. The Muslim Brotherhood, a broader religious, charitable and social movement, would continue its work separately from the political party.

The rise of Islamist parties at the ballot box has raised concerns among more secular Arabs that new governments will impose more religious restrictions on society or seek to make post-uprising constitutions comply with Islamic law, or sharia.

Libya’s NTC has already indicated that the country will be run in accordance with sharia, though the exact place of sharia in the legal system will only be settled once a new constitution is written after elections.

Belhadj said there was little disagreement on the issue of sharia in Libya, whose citizens are virtually all Sunni Muslims.

“All the parties cannot but adopt an Islamic frame of reference because the Libyan people are Muslim,” he said.
Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1949 as an offshoot of the eponymous Egyptian organisation but was banned and unable to hold public meetings in Libya until November 2011. Its members were often forced to keep their membership secret for fear of arrest, torture or imprisonment.

Majida al-Fallah, a doctor and Islamist activist, told Reuters she saw women, whatever their political loyalty, playing a more active role after the revolution.

“I believe women began to have a big role from the start of the revolution. We are now pushing women to the front lines rather than keeping them in the back seat,” she said.

Asked if she expected religious parties to push for women to be confined to the home or be forced to wear the veil, she said: “I don’t think so. This is something that is up to the Muslim woman herself and her choice.”

75 Nigerians Return Home from Libya

File Photo - Sub-Saharan Africans in Libya

Another batch of 75 Nigerians have returned from the war torn country Libya on Friday, after travelling from Tripoli to Nigeria for one month.

According to 234next, the returnees arrived Nigeria in commercial buses belonging to a Cameroonian company “accompanied by officials of a non-governmental organisation, of International Organisation for Migration based in Chad.

The returnees have been handed over to officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Borno.

One of the returnees Mr Solomon Imenwan from Edo state who spoke to newsmen, said he had been living in Libya for the past five years and that he lost all his property in the crisis in that country.

“Muammar Ghadafi opposition army brutalised us, raped our girls and women and some of us even lost their lives as a result of the crisis.

“I thank God that I am successfully back to Nigeria. I have vowed never in my life to go back nor to advise anybody to travel to that country again.” He said.

Another returnee, Efusa Ijesaroju, said that while in Libya, they were discriminated against and treated as a second class citizen.

“I am a graduate of Computer Science from the University of Benin but they don’t recognise my certificate

“I want to call on Nigerians to stop travelling to that country as we have experienced terrible situation in Libya,” Ijesaroju said.

Another returnee, a widow who did not want to be identified in the team told newsmen that her little daughter was killed along with her husband while she was away for shopping in the market.

She appealed to government to come to her aid to enable her to bring up her two surviving children.

465 Nigerian returnees from Libya have been received by NEMA in Maiduguri in so far.

Similarly, the Public Relations Officer of the North-East Zone of NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, promised that the fourth batch of returnees would be given special treatment considering the stress they had gone through.

Farinloye said they would be transported to Benin while some funds would be provided for them to enable them to return to their various states of origin.