(Last Updated On: May 17, 2017)


By Gbenga Gbelee

It was a tale of woes yesterday (May 16) at the cargo section of the Muritala

Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as another batch of 258 Nigerians

deported from Libya touched ground.

The deportees who arrived at the cargo section of the Airport in Lagos at about

10.00 in the evening aboard an Airbus A333-200 were received at the Hajj

Terminal by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

They all looked tired, fagged, worn out and perplexed as they narrated how they

were brutalised like animals in Libya.

One of the deportees who is a native of Edo State, Mr Ken Akhere said he has

been in detention in Libya in the past one year after he was arrested on board a

boat while trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to Italy. About One hundred of

them were cramped into a room not enough to accommodate Twenty people

with resultant suffocation to death of one inmate almost every week. He said as

one inmate dies, more Nigerians were brought and squeezed into the same room

and inmates with medical conditions were left unattended to.

The deportee told newsmen that they watched helplessly as their friends and

fellow inmates die before our very eyes.

Other deportees who were also aboard the chartered Libya Airlines Airbus

A330-200 with registration number 5A-LAU and profiled by the NEMA

officials late into the night had similar tales of woes to tell.

They were received at the Hajj Camp area of the airport by combined team of

officers from the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for

the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Police.

Officials of National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA), the National

Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the

Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), were also present.

Dr Onimode Bandele, the Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, said the

returnees were made up of 220 males, 18 females and 20 children and infants.

According to Dr. Bandele, they have been able to bring back 1,268 Nigerians

since December 2016 and the exercise will continue in collaboration with all the

collaborating agencies.