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Bring back our citizens

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Returnees alight from a chartered aircraft that brought home 150 migrants from Libya at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, on December 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI


Sir: Hundreds of African refugees are being bought and sold in slave markets across Libya every week, with some of them held for ransom or forced into prostitution and sexual exploitation to pay their captors and smugglers. Many of them ended up being murdered by their smugglers into the open desert or die from thirst or car accidents in the vast Libyan Desert.

These refugees who are never identified and many ended being buried without names or proper graves. These refugees and migrants- most of them from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroun, Zambia, Senegal, Gambia and Sudan are smuggled into Libya by a network of criminal gangs on the promise of reaching Europe. Libya is the main gateway for people attempting to reach Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 people making deadly crossing every year.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), over 22,500 migrants have died since 2014, with more than half of them perishing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea to reach Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Spain. 

With the history of slave trade abolishment in the British Empire in 1944 with the Slavery Abolishing Act and in the USA in 1865 as the 13th amendment to the U.S. constitution, why are we witnessing Nigerians and other Africans being sold into slavery? It is quite saddening to know that in 2017, black people are still being sold into slavery. This act started long before now with little or no attention being paid by the country of the victims involved. It is high time the Federal Government of Nigeria and other countries of the victims affected came up with a better mechanism to stop this modern – day slavery.
•Israel Oyedare.


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