Another 241 Nigerians flee Libya, four return with gunshot wounds
About 241 Nigerians yesterday arrived at the cargo section of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, after an unsuccessful stint in Libya.The Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVRs) came aboard a Libyan Airlines’ Airbus A330-200 chartered flight and have in the last few weeks wanted to escape alleged hostility faced in the host country.
The Guardian gathered that most of them were stranded in Libya after failed attempts to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. Some had immigration problems that landed them in prisons.95 per cent are between the age of 15 and 25 years, of which there are at least nine under-aged.
Four returned with serious injuries from gunshot cases and had to be taken to hospital immediately.The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) facilitated their return to Nigeria after they volunteered to return. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other related Matters (NAPTIP) are ensuring their welfare in Nigeria.It was the third of such exercises from Libya this year alone.
An official of the IOM in Lagos, Nahashon Maina Thuo said they would each be given the sum of $50 (N15, 000 plus) to assist them return to their various states of origin and destinations in the country.
Besides transportation, Thuo said a percentage of them would be eligible for integration assistance to startup small businesses, while the critically ill are assisted to have their medical bills covered to a certain extent.
Director of Relief and Rehabilitation at NEMA, Aliu Bafada Sambo said it was the responsibility of the agency to receive them from IOC, accommodate them and ensure that they are taken to their various states and local governments.
Sambo said, “They returned voluntarily. They were not deported. They had immigration issues in Libya and are returning home on their own volition.”“We will have them returned to their states as quick as possible. These are our Nigerian brothers and sisters; they are not strangers. Some of them have even expressed willingness right from here to return to their states. So, we will do that. We will organise transport right to their states and probably to their respective local governments.”On June 15, about 167 Nigerians returned from Libya. It was learnt there are still more Nigerians stranded in Libya that may soon be repatriated home.