(Updated): 162 Nigerians Voluntary Returnees Arrive Nigeria from Libya
An Airbus 320 aircraft with registration number 5A-WAT today arrived the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) at about 3pm with 162 Nigerian voluntary returnees, who were stranded in the war torn country Libya.
The returnees comprises of 132 males, 27 females and three children
Two of the voluntary returnees have health challenges and were stretched out of the aircraft through the exit door at the tail of the aircraft by officials of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and transported with its ambulance to undisclosed hospital.
The returnees were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with Nigeria Embassy in Libya.
The returnees’ were received and their details were taken by the Nigeria Immigration Service, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),the Police, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NATIP).
Some of the returnees were smiling on alighting from the aircraft while others could not instead quietly strolled into waiting busses belonging to the Skypower Aviation Handling Company(SAHCOL) and the Presidency that took them to Hajj Camp.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the returnees were transported to Hajj Camp by NEMA, the Operation Assistant with IOM in Libya, who escorted the returnees’ aircraft to Nigeria, Jumaben Hassan, stated that the people that alighted from the chattered aircraft with the name tag Ghadames Air were voluntary returnees who were stranded in Libya, who voluntarily returned to Nigeria.
Ghadames Air is a Libyan airline with one aircraft A320-200 series in its fleet.
He said that it is about the voluntary return of migrants from Libya, adding that this was the second time the IOM is bringing back voluntary returnees to the country.
He stated that there would be another batch of Nigerian voluntary returnees very soon but did not give the exact time or the number of the returnees, adding that IOM has received requests from Nigeria Embassy in Tripoli, Libya.
On those that were stretched out of the aircraft by NEMA officials, Hassan stated that one of them had car accident, while the other one was involved in a fire accident where he and his colleagues were living.
On her part, the Voluntary Returnees and Integration Consultant with IOM in Lagos, Sara Hamo, stated that the voluntary returnees are 162 made up of 132 males, 27 females and three children.
She added the returnees were from the North African country of Libya and that they were brought back by IOM when they voluntarily informed the organisation that they want to come back home.
Also speaking, a representative of NEMA, Aliyu Sambo, stated that the organisation has received the voluntary returnees and that arrangements have been made at the Hajj Camp at the Lagos airport, where they will take their bath, eat and rest.
He added that they are Nigerians stranded in Libya, who according to him have decided to return home and that they would be given counselling, re-orientated and given stipends to reunite with their families.
IOM which was established in 1951 is the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
It has 162 member states, nine states holding observer status and has offices in over 100 countries.
The organisation is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all and it does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.