One hundred and sixteen Nigerians have returned from Libya in the early hours of Friday, in addition to the 249 that returned on Thursday night, bringing the total of repatriated Nigerians to 365 within two days.
The 116 arrived aboard Buraq Airlines and were handed over to the Federal Government through the southwest Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Suleiman Yakubu who represented the Director General of the Agency, Suleiman Yakubu.
Among them were 46 female adults, three female children, four female infants, 60 male adults, one male child and two male infants, making a total of 116 returnees.
Also among the 249 who had returned earlier were 52 female adults, four female children, 10 female infants, 173 male adults, two male children and 9 male infants.
They were voluntarily assisted back home after their failed attempts to cross over to Europe through Libya by the IOM through European Union funding.
The first set of returnees have been accommodated in hotels and would be joined with the new returnees before they proceed to their final destinations.
Some state officials have been on ground to facilitate the transportation of their indigenes back to their respective states.
The National Assembly has condemned the modern day slavery in Libya and called the executive to find a solution to the issue and the menace of migration.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives considered the issue based on separate motions on Wednesday and 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 has drawn widespread condemnation.
The outrage over the slave trade comes after a video emerged showing migrants that have been enslaved and brutalised being sold off.
The lawmakers called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use the opportunity of the ongoing European Union and African Union Summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to table the matter before the Libyan delegation.
Senator Baba Kaka Garbai (Borno-Central), who brought up the issue with a motion entitled, ‘Urgent Need to Protect Nigerian Citizens from the Libya Slavery Auction’, decried the “barbaric” sale of migrants, many of who are Nigerians.
Senate President Bukola Saraki described the development as a slap in the face and called for more steps to be taken to protect citizens.
“As a country, truly, it is a slap in the face of all of us if Nigerians can be treated in this manner. Like somebody said, Ivory Coast that is not as big as us is taking action to see how they can bring their own citizens back. We need to be doing similar things,” he said.
When a similar motion was moved at the House of Representatives, the reps urged the executive to liaise with the government of Libya with a view to finding a lasting solution to the reported menace of illegal migration and slavery in the North African country.
A joint committee of the house is also to interface with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to identify factors that encourage people to embark on the dangerous journey, proffer solution to discourage intending migrants as well as recommend how Nigerians caught in the web, can be returned home.
The condemnation of the slave trade by the National Assembly comes the same day President Muhammadu Buhari promised to ensure that Nigerians stranded in Libya are repatriated and illegal migration is checked.
Some weeks ago, Channels Television reported on the point of no return in Esuk Mba Community, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State and promised to bring another report on a practice, still in Esuk Mba, traceable to the 18th century which is still in existence.
Part two of the Esuk Mba story, takes us to the trade by Barter Market, where this form of exchange has refused to evolve irrespective of the importance attached to the Nigerian currency note in our contemporary times.
The Esuk Mba trade by barter market was a focal point in Nigeria’s dark era of slave trade which made delivery of about 30 percent of the total slaves shipped out of the country at the ‘point of no return’ through a bush track behind the market.
Many decades after the abolition of slavery, the Esuk Mba Market is still standing and plays host to traders from the neighbouring states and communities who bring in, the proceeds from their farms in exchange of what they do not have, but need at the moment.
Other products exchanged at the market are sea foods like the periwinkle popularly known as ‘Enfee- in efik language, crayfish, fish, fruits and other produce.
The market is a weekly one, it holds every Saturday from 7am and terminates at 10am for the barter section and on a day like this, you can be sure of getting value for what you are exchanging for.
Ambrose Akpanika, an elder statesman and a High Chief of the Calabar Kingdom, traced the root of this practise and its economic stability factor in the Nation’s currency.