Over 200 migrants stranded in Libya returned to Nigeria

242 migrants landed at Lagos airport on Tuesday

242 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya have been returned to their home country, according to Nigerian officials.

The migrants landed at Lagos airport in a Libyan airline flight at around 9pm (local time) on Tuesday, among them women carrying children and a man in a wheelchair.

This comes after CNN published a report on modern slavery in Libya, featuring a video that was reportedly shot in August and featured unidentified Nigerian men being sold for as little as $400.

According to the federal government, they are working on returning the migrants from Libya, in collaboration with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

Some of the migrants who returned to Nigeria had been in Libyan detention camps, while others willingly approached the Nigerian embassy in Libya, to return home, said authorities.

Abike Dabiri, SSA to President Buhari said that the Nigerian government had been working with the IOM, as well as the Nigerian Commission for Refugees and Migrants (NCFRMI) and other local agencies for the last year, to bring the Nigerians back home.

Dabiri said that around 5,000 Nigerians returned home from Libya in the last year alone.

“The president has said that any Nigerian who wants to come back should be brought back, so IOM has been helping out,” she said.

The NCFRMI said that on average, it has been processing between eight and 10 flights, per month, from Libya to Nigeria.

Nikki Laoye, an ambassador for NCFRMI, who filmed the airport arrivals and posted them on her Instagram page said:

“It was quite emotional seeing this. We heard about their ordeal in the desert, some of them were praying to die. No water to drink, thrown in jail and finally given the option to go back to their country

“Many of them had travelled illegally through the desert trying to reach Italy via Libya before finding themselves in tight situations, thrown into jail for illegal entry or falling into the hands of wrong people and being sold into slavery/prostitution.”

Laoye said that the new arrivals would be profiled and registered by the Nigerian authorities and some were taken to a shelter run by the NCIFRM in Lagos, where they could remain for up to 90 days.

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