At least, 326 stranded Nigerians in Libya have arrived Nigeria, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said.
Alhaji Idris Muhammed, Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of NEMA, who confirmed the development to newsmen on Friday in Lagos, said the returnees were received in two batches.
Muhammed said the Nigerians arrived the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via two different flights.
He said the first flight arrived Nigeria with 143 returnees aboard Al Buraq Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with registration number 5A-DMG which landed at 10. 20p.m on Thursday.
He said the second flight, a Nouvelair aircraft, with registration number TS-INA, arrived with 183 returnees aboard at about 1.20 a.m on Friday.
Muhammed said the Nigerians were brought back by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) under the Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVR) programme.
He said officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) were on ground to welcome the Nigerian returnees.
“At the end of profiling, the breakdown of the returnees shows 148 female adults; six female children, 15 female infants, making a total of 169 females.
“The males are143 male adults, two male children and 12 male infants, making a total of 157 males,” the NEMA coordinator said.
He enjoined the returnees to join the government in working assiduously toward making Nigeria a prosperous nation.
Muhammed said: “The country of our dream is unfolding. As you are struggling to travel outside the country, many foreign nationals are struggling to come into Nigeria as well.
“Movement of people is naturally divine and no one is saying you should not travel but travelling across the desert is not worth it.
“The Federal government is desirous to make every Nigerian contribute his or her quota in developing the country to the level we want it to be.
“Let us all stay back and support the government in its efforts at refocusing the country.
“We all have trust and confidence in this government that it will lead us to the promise land with the present leadership, but youths are the engine room in building a virile and developed nation.
“Traveling out for greener pastures outside will not enable our needed collective efforts that are very vital at this stage of the country’s progressive history.”
He advised the returnees to be ready for reintegration process that would follow the arrival stage that had just been completed.
Mr Daniel Atokolo, Commander, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Lagos Zone, assured Nigerians that any information provided, that could lead to the arrest of traffickers, would be treated with utmost secrecy.
He also assured that government was ready to protect the identity of informants, adding that the task of eradicating human trafficking in Nigeria required the efforts of all and sundry. (NNN)
Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Dada Ahmed