No fewer than 161 Nigerians yesterday returned to the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, after unsuccessful stints in Libya.
The persons, who arrived aboard Airbus 320 Nouvel Air aircraft at about 4pm, were voluntary returnees ferried back by the International Organisation for Immigration (IOM).
They are made up of 101 female adults and 60 males . Among them are seven children and two infants. At least three came with medical issues, with one in fractures and immediately sent to the hospital for care.
Officials of IOM and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) received the returnees at the cargo section of the airport, offering food, water and stipend of £50 (N19,695) for all to return to their communities.
Some, who spoke to reporters, were full of gratitude to IOM for finding them, keeping them in custody with clothings and food for weeks before ensuring their safe return to Nigeria.
Head of Sub-Office, IOM, Nahashon Thuo, said efforts were ongoing to assist other Nigerians willing to return home from various detention camps.
NEMA DG, represented by Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, Dr. Bandele Onimode, said the repatriation effort was the Federal Government’s response to a recent video that went viral on the untold hostilities in Libya.
Onimode said besides getting IOM to bring the stranded Nigerians in, the government had also provided services to ensure that “our children” are well received and catered for.
He added that through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, some state governors had been contacted and some are present to receive returnees that are from their states.
Head of Protocol, Edo State Laison Office in Lagos, Segun Alabi, said it was regrettable that Nigerians are still falling prey to exploiters promising that the grass is greener overseas, “when that is no longer the case.”
Alabi added that on the part of the Edo State government, the development was a cause for concern, but all machinery are in motion to create about 3000 job opportunities for young Nigerians to discourage them from risking it all overseas.
At least five batches of returnees from Libya were recorded in 2016, totalling over 700 returnees.The Guardian observed that the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) around 7:00 pm deployed mass-transit buses to pick the returnees after profiling, for further care at the Ikotun-based church.