An Airbus 320 aircraft arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Thursday with 162 Nigerians who had been stranded in Libya. The returnees, comprising of 132 males, 27 females and three children, returned voluntarily to the country at about 3 p. m. The returnees were brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Swiss Government and the Nigerian Embassy in Libya.
The details of the returnees were taken by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) and the Police.
Also on ground to receive the returnees were officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Two of the returnees, who were in critical conditions upon arrival, were immediately rushed to the hospital for urgent medical attention.
Addressing newsmen, Ms Sara Hammon, Assisted Voluntary Return and Re-Integration Consultant, IOM, Lagos, said the returnees had indicated their willingness to go back to Nigeria. She said: “This flight has come from Tripoli in Libya, carrying some Nigerian migrants who were stranded in Libya and have volunteered to return home. They have been assisted by the Swiss Government and the IOM to come back to their country of origin. What happens after this is that they will get a stipend from IOM and will be assisted to get to their final destinations,’’ Hammon said.
According to her, the returnees are all Nigerians and were profiled by the NIS upon landing at the airport. Also speaking, the Operations Assistant, IOM, Libya, Mr Juma Hassan, said the organisation had been assisting various nationalities, including Nigerians, to leave the war-torn country.
“This is the second time this year that we are coming to Nigeria. The last time was on March 10. We may have another charter soon because we have request from the Nigerian embassy in Tripoli regarding the nationals there that want to be assisted to go back to Nigeria. How soon is not really feasible to me but I can say from two months to three months time,’’ Hassan said.
He explained that one returnee was involved in a car accident in Libya, while another one suffered severe burn injuries when fire gutted the apartment he was sharing with some other migrants. According to Hassan, the IOM provided a medical doctor to assist the returnees on the trip before they were handed over to the Nigerian medical team.
Source: PM News