By Louis Ibah
About 162 Nigerians stranded in Libya while trying to transit illegally into Europe have returned to the country.
The returnees arrival in the country on Wednesday aboard a Libyan Airline which touched down at the Cargo Wing of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos at about 3:30 am.
They comprised 100 females among them four pregnant women and 62 males. Nigerian Immigration officials who profiled the returnees said of the 100 females, 82 of whom were adults, while 13 were children and five infants.
Out of the 62 males, 50 were of adult age, while four were children and 13 infant males with two minor medical cases were brought back.
The coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),Mr. Idris A. Muhammed, who received the Nigerians, urged them to assist the government in raising awareness of the dangers associated with irregular migration. He said although there was nothing wrong with migration, those who seek to leave Nigeria in search of greener pastures abroad, should do so legitimately.
“Migration is protected by international and national statutes for movement of people through proper regularisation of papers that would protect and save you against the risks of irregular migrations,” said Muhammed.
Muhammed also stated that NEMA hosted a team from the European Union on monitoring and evaluation of the special EU intervention on the assisted-voluntary return of migrants.
According to him, NEMA had to interface in a bid to improve the present European Assisted Voluntary Returnees projects being run by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
“Gaps were identified especially on logistics which are causing nightmares to stakeholders and the returnees but on the whole, the rescheduling of aircraft-charter flights would be improved upon,” he said.
He said the partnership between NAMA and the IOM to assist Nigerians trapped in Libya which began in April 2017 was expected to end in April 2020, adding that so far, about 8, 808 Nigerians have been repatriated back to Nigeria from the North African country.