490 Nigerians have returned from Libya as part of the first batch of over 3,000 persons that are expected to be evacuated to the country over a period of time.
They arrived the Port Harcourt International Airport on Sunday with the aid of officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and displaced persons.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this is the first time the Federal Government will be sending such a strong delegation to any country to canvass for the release of Nigerians held in what he described as “inhuman conditions.”
Over the past weeks, several batches of migrants have been voluntarily assisted back home after their failed attempts to cross over to Europe through Libya.
With the news of slave trading and the brutal experiences of some migrants sparking global criticism, the government subsequently promised to do all it can to ensure that all Nigerian (illegal) migrants are brought back to the country.
The Director-General of NEMA, who received the returnees asked them to turn a new leaf as they have seen that there are no greener pastures anywhere outside Nigeria for Nigerians than the greens available for its citizens in the country.
The Director General who was represented by the Southwest Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu also said the Federal Government is doing everything possible to bring back all Nigerians that are willing to return and special incentives are being put in place for all to restart their lives.
He asked them to see their sojourn as a way of challenge to make Nigeria greater by looking at the present challenges on positive ways.
“You have gone out to see things yourself that Nigeria is a great country, your contributions can make it a greater country you crave for and I wants you all to turn things round for the development of this nation.
“Nigeria is blessed with all resources that everyone can tapped from without any fear of being molested or exposed to inhuman treatment,” he said.
The Edo State Government has revealed plans to train returnees from Europe in agricultural skills to enable them to settle back in their home country.
The state commissioner for Agriculture, Monday Osaigbovo said this while presenting his briefs to the Edo State House of Assembly on Tuesday.
Osaigbovo said that the government has the capacity to train as many youths who indicate interest in various agricultural skills in the state and that the government is committed to the welfare of the returnees.
One of the lawmakers, Henry Okhuarobo has erlier asked for the plan of the state government for the youths.
“Many of our youths are still hell-bent on going to Libya by road on their way to Europe and we are losing them by the day. Others are taking varied similar risky ventures. What are you putting in place to ensure that we educate them about this agriculture programs because they don’t know.”
Osaigbovo in his response said a committee has been set up to empower the returnees and train them in various field of agriculture.
“We have a committee in my ministry made up of those that were repatriated and we are waiting for funds to train them in various fields of agriculture and they are already informing their members.
“We don’t want them to go back, se we need to train and empower them. We will even use them for our own Agro-entrepreneur by sending them to our partners who will also give them one, two, three hectares of farms depending on what we train them on.”
One hundred and twenty-eight Nigerians stranded in Libya have returned to the country.
They arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos around 5 pm on Thursday and were received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency.
The returnees were brought back by the International Organisation arrived, with six of them in urgent need of medical attention.
According to officials 126 of them were males and two of them were females. Many of the returnees recounted the tales of cruel treatment meted out to them at different detention camps in Libya.
They called on the Federal Government to facilitate the return of other Nigerians stranded in Libya especially those in prisons who they say die on daily basis due to the poor conditions of the prisons.
Other agencies who joined NEMA to receive them were the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, National Commission for Refugees and officials of the Nigeria Police Force.
At least 198 Nigerians who have been living illegally in Saudi Arabia have returned home after the Saudi government threatened to expel undocumented workers and illegal immigrants.
The Nigerians arrived at the Aminu Kanu International Airport on Saturday morning and were received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency.
It was gathered that they had avoided sanctions by returning home voluntarily under a 90-day amnesty offered by the Saudi Arabian government. The amnesty had been due to expire on June 25 but it was extended by 30 more days.
Those who fail to return under the amnesty risk fines, jail terms and deportation.
More than a thousand Nigerians are expected to return under the amnesty offer.
The Federal Government sponsored the return of those who arrived in Kano on Saturday.