Libya Slave Trade NEMA boss lauds returnees for courage to face fresh start
Maihajja said many of them had refused to return due to shame and fear of meeting their mates at home who might have succeeded in their endeavours.
Alhaji Mustapha Maihajja, Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has commended Nigerians who voluntarily returned from Libya for their courage to face a fresh start in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Maihajja made the commendation on Tuesday while receiving 245 more Nigerians who voluntarily returned from the volatile North African country.
Maihajja, who was represented by Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the agency, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, noted that some others were still stuck in Libya for lack of courage to face a new beginning in Nigeria.
He said many of them had refused to return due to shame and fear of meeting their mates at home who might have succeeded in their endeavours.
” It takes courage for you to return home. Nigeria is changing fast.
“The Federal government is making everything possible to ensure that every Nigerian will be proud of being a Nigerian.
” All the government is expecting from you is to have faith in God and your leaders and discharge your civic responsibilities,” he said.
One of the returnees, Endurance Omeyo from Uromi in Edo State, said he went to Libya in 2016, and unfortunately came back with one of his legs amputated.
He said :” I come from a very poor home. I lost my father about 12 years ago and only my mother was left to be facing the stress.
“That is why I went to Libya to cross the sea and go to Italy, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it as we were arrested while on the sea.
“We were 160 people on that boat but 110 died and only 50 of us survived. They now took us back to prison in Libya. ”
According to him, he spent over a month in captivity before a friend from Italy sent him N250, 000 which he used to buy his freedom from his captors.
The 28-year-old said a few weeks after, he was shot while in company of two friends which led to the amputation of his leg.
“I spent months in the hospital, until my mother went to borrow N400, 000 which was used to perform three surgeries on me and that is why I am alive today, ” he said.
NAN reports that the returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos aboard an Afriqiyah Airbus 330-300 aircraft with Registration Number 5A-ONR at about 8:25pm.
They were assisted back to Nigeria by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) after expressing interest to leave Libya where they had been stranded enroute Europe.
They comprised 66 adult females, 74 adult males, four children and six infants.
The returnees were also received by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) , the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
As at the time of filing this report, another batch of Nigerians was being expected from Libya, as their aircraft was said to be on the way from Tripoli.