Barely 16 days after 171 Nigerians voluntarily returned from the war torn Libya, another batch of 155 today returned to the country aboard a chartered Nouvel Air aircraft with registration number TS-1NB after unsuccessful attempts to cross to Europe failed
The charted airplane landed at about 6pm at the cargo section of the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos.
Recalled that 171 Nigerians voluntarily returned on March 7 from Libya.
The returnees were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Nigerian Embassy in Libya.
The returnees were received at the Hajj Camp of the airport by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) , the National Agency for the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Police, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Speaking with journalists shortly after receiving the returnees, Director, Search and Rescue, NEMA, Dr Onimode Bandele, said various agencies were on ground to welcome the returnees to their fatherland.
According to him, “We are here to welcome our nationals who have signified their intention to come back home from Libya. The returnees are being assisted back home by IOM, having being negotiated out of detention centres in Libya for various immigration offences. We had three medical cases on board, one is paralyses, the other one is a Psychiatric problem, while the third is a minor injury which have been taken care of with the effort of the IOM doctors and the Port Health Authority.”
Bandele stated that the Nigerians had gone to Libya in search of greener pastures, which unfortunately turned out to be a terrible experience for them.
He disclosed that the exercise had been in existence since 2001, adding that about 7,000 Nigerians had been assisted by IOM to return back to home from various countries.
In his words, “Between March 2016 to December 2016, IOM has assisted 867 Nigerians back home. Between February 2017 till date, we have had 654 Nigerians. This means that between March 2016 to March 23, 2017, IOM had assisted 1521 Nigerians that have voluntarily returned back to the country. This exercise we are doing here is to ensure that they are well received and we are also in touched with their state government and they will definitely take ownership of this voluntarily returnees.”