Lagos – The UN migration agency (IOM) assisted 166 stranded Nigeria migrants to return from Libya on Wednesday (28/03).
These returns are part of IOM’s humanitarian voluntary return programme funded by the EU-IOM Joint initiative for the protection and reintegration of migrants and implemented by IOM with the support of the Nigerian government.
The returnees comprised 101 male adults, two male children, 56 female adults, three female children and
four female infants. They were welcomed by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Police and IOM Nigeria staff.
“Although I was told of the danger involved in this journey but I thought it was a joke. Many people died in the desert. It was God that saved me”, said Dennis from Edo state who was among the returnees. Dennis left Nigeria due to economic hardship on 28 July 2017.
“I was arrested on October, 7. I celebrated Christmas and New Year inside the prison. I want to use this opportunity to advise my fellow Nigerians not to take that risk. I was warned but I refused to listen now I have learned my lessons in a hard way. It is not an event you would like to experience,” he regretted.
“I wish to thank IOM for their quick intervention, they really helped us. Now that I am back home, I think am one of the happiest person now. I will forever be thankful to IOM because they really saved my life,” he continued.
Abrham Tamrat, IOM’s Programme Manager said this was the fifth chartered flight by IOM in 2018 making it 1,102 Nigerian migrants returned so far. Since the launch of the project in the country on May 20, 2017 more than 7,600 Nigerian migrants were returned home.
Speaking about the humanitarian voluntary return and reintegration programme of IOM, Enira Krdzalic the IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria said “We cannot put an end to migration, but we can work together to make sure that the migration process is safer and better managed so that migration becomes a genuine, informed choice rather than a desperate leap into the unknown.”
Enira affirmed IOM’s commitment in collaborating with the government of Nigeria to ensure protection and safe arrival of stranded Nigerian migrants from Libya.