One hundred and sixty-one Nigerians yesterday returned voluntarily from Libya.They were assisted back home by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) after many months in Libyan detention facilities.
They arrived singing songs of praise and beaming with smiles, thanking their creator for bringing them safely home.
“Our people are dying,” they said as they arrived aboard a chartered Nouvel Air Airbus 330 aircraft which landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) cargo terminal in Lagos around 3:30 p.m.
They were received on arrival by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) alongside the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), among other agencies at the airport before they were moved to Hajj camp where they did their profiling.
Among them were nursing mothers those heavily pregnant while others were seriously ill due to surgeries reportedly carried out on them in the North African country.
The returnees comprised 60 males including 51 adults, two children and seven infants while females were 101 consisting of 92 adults, seven children and two infants.
Head of Sub office of IOM in Lagos, Nahashon Thuo disclosed that the returnees decided to voluntarily return home because of the hostile conditions in Libya.
He said this was why the IOM intervened to facilitate their returns, disclosing that they would be given a stipend of 50 pounds (about N30,000) to support them to return to their destinations.
Also speaking, Head of Search and Rescue, NEMA, Dr. Onimode Abdullahi Bandele who represented the DG, Alhaji Mohammed Sidi said the agency acted on recent video clips which went viral on the hostilities in Libya.
He said, “It (the video) got to us and we got in touch with our partners. We particularly sent to IOM to help us clarify what the issues were.”
The returnees said a lot of Nigerians had lost their lives to the dehumanizing treatment meted out to them in Libya.
One returnee, 22- year old Beauty Johnson from Edo state said she was arrested and spent three months in prison before IOM came to her rescue.