NEMA receives 128 stranded Nigerians from Libya
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it had received 128 Nigerian returnees from Libya.
The Director-General of the Agency, Alhaji Mustapha Habib told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the returnees were received through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Habib, represented by the Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office of NEMA, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, said the returnees left Mitiga International Airport, Tripoli, on Tuesday night aboard a chartered Buraq Boeing 100-800 aircraft with registration 5A-DMG.
The director-general said that the returnees were made up of 38 females and 90 males.
“The returnees were brought back to the country by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through a voluntary repatriation programme for distressed persons.
“They had left the country to seek greener pasture in various European countries but could not afford to return when their journey became frustrated, ” he pointed out.
Habib admonished the returnees to look beyond seeking greener pastures in foreign lands.
He assured them that the Federal Government was conscious of the aspirations of the youth and was providing an enabling environment where everyone would achieve his full potential.
Narrating her experience, one of the female returnees (name withheld) expressed regrets that she was misled by her mother to embark on the fruitless journey.
She said her mother was approached by a “street sister“ who sweet-talked her mum to convince her to embark on the journey to Europe.
The 28-year-old returnee said she obeyed her mother when the pressure became unbearable.
“I left my three-month-old son behind to my mum’s care and I have not seen him since then.
“He should be six years old now. My trafficker paid for my journey from Nigeria to Libya which started on Feb. 26, 2016.
“Before leaving Nigeria, my trafficker had informed me that I will refund the money spent on me for the journey, though she did not tell me the amount.
“I ended up paying her ₦2.2 million equivalent by engaging in prostitution throughout my six years sojourn in Libya,” she said.
“After this, my initial trafficker sold me to another burga (trafficker). I paid one million to the new man, all the payments were through prostitution.
“Coming to Nigeria now with only ₦200,000 that I squeezed to save, I don’t want to see my mother till I have enough,“ she said.
When asked why she was so angry to the extent of wanting to avoid meeting her son, she burst into tears, sobbing.
Another returnee, named also withheld, said she believed that her mother did her a great favour for spurring her to embark on the journey to Europe.
“Which mother will not be happy when her child is about to travel to Europe, my mum bought clothes and make-over stuff for me when I was travelling.
“A popular big sister at Akungba approached my mother and convinced her that she would help me travel to Europe with the promise that I will be doing my hairdressing work or I can be doing housemaid to be able to raise money and support my mother and siblings.
“My mother has not been feeling well and she needed support. My elder siblings were not supportive because of their economic status.
“My journey through the desert was horrific. I was to be buried as grave had been dug and just as I was about to be thrown into it, I miraculously showed signs of life.
“I came back to life. I left Nigeria on Jan. 3, 2016, and the cold was at the extreme peak at the time. I died and resurrected, that was what I can remember.
“What I experienced in the desert was a child play compared to the inhuman treatment meted out to me by my burga (trafficker) who happened to be from my town and same street,” she pointed out.
She said that in spite of her illness as a result of the harsh weather in the desert, her trafficker forced her to be deflowered on the day she entered Libya by fixing her up with a client.
“To God, I used my body (prostitution) to pay my trafficker a total sum of ₦4.5 million.
“The worst part of my experience was the mental challenged I found myself in due to various trauma I passed through in the hands of my trafficker.
“My trafficker took nine of us out of Akungba. At present I am the only returning due to my health. I thank God that I am recuperating fast but I have to return to Nigeria in order that the health challenge would not relapse.
“Any time I shout out of anxiety or anger, the mental illness will resurface.
“l cannot ask my enemies to embark on any journey out of Nigeria to seek for any non-existing job at all.
“Our people are our enemies, they deceive us to leave Nigeria, she stated.