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465 Nigerians evacuated from Libya arrive in Port Harcourt


The fourth batch of 465 Nigerian returnees from Libya arrived in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday.

South-South Zonal Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Martins Ejike, who received the returnees, told newsmen that they arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport about 12.25 a.m. on board Max Air.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ejike said the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in Libya had been a huge success, in spite of some challenges in that country during the negotiations for their return.

He added that the Federal Government had put every mechanism in place to fast-track the evacuation of the returnees, as every process needed for the evacuation was taking place step by step.

He expressed joy over the response of states in picking up their indigenes at the evacuation centre, following NEMA’s earlier dissatisfaction over states not collecting their indigenes on time, noting: “I am happy that the last set of returnees at the centre were all taken back to their various states on January 15,” he said.

Ejike said the agency would contact state governors for prompt evacuation of the returnees from the Port Harcourt centre.

The Public Relations Officer of Max Air, Mr. Muhammad Dahiru, said the exercise was hitch-free, adding: “We did not have any security challenges in Libya.

“We landed in Libya about 7.30 and spent only one hour and 30 minutes before we took off from there back to Nigeria.”

He said so far, 1,955 returnees had been brought back to Nigeria by Max Air, out of the 3,138 expected to bring back, saying: “I can assure you that we can bring all the returnees back to Nigeria within 48 hours if we are invited to come and carry them.’’

One of the returnees, Osita John, thanked the Federal Government for rescuing them and fulfilling its promise of bringing Nigerians home.

John described his experience in Libya as “horrible and unforgettable” and advised Nigerian youths still nursing the idea of travelling out of the country illegally to drop it.

He called on the Federal Government to continue with the evacuation to save many youths still in different prisons in the north African country, noting: “There is no place like home, but I beg our leaders to make Nigeria a better place for us, the youth, to live,” he said.

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