By Isaac Aregbesola
Nigeria is to evacuate another set of its citizens from Libya in February, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has said.
The Deputy Director, Search and Rescue of the Agency, Dr Bandele Onimode, said on Tuesday in Abuja that many Nigerians were stranded in Libya.
Onimode unveiled the plan when he led a delegation to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (SSAPFAD), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
According to him, the Federal Government has been doing a lot to help Nigerian citizens wherever they are having challenges.
“It is a well- known fact that Nigerians do cross the desert to Europe through Niger Republic, Mali, and Sudan and in the process some are tired, stranded and trapped.
“Our Nigerian missions abroad never leave them alone, they always come to their rescue. As I am talking to you there are still some of them that are stranded in Niger and we are working on that.
“But the one that caught our attention of recent is the issue of Nigerians trying to get to Europe through Libya. There is need to set the record straight on what the government has been doing,” Onimode said.
He said the Federal Government had already evacuated no fewer than 1,000 voluntary returnees from Libya between 2015 and 2016.
Onimode said that 325 returnees were evacuated in May 2015 while 669 were evacuated four times in 2016.
He explained that 175 were evacuated from Libya in August; 160 in October; 172 in November and 162 in December.
According to Onimode, most of the returnees were from Delta and Edo and aged between 16 and 22, adding that there were cases of infants being accompanied by their mothers.
He said that there were also cases of injured persons that were evacuated and returned to the country, stressing that such people were properly profiled by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Onimode said that the agency was working with other sister agencies such as DSS, Police, FAAN, and NAPTIP to sort out the cases of victim of trafficking.
He explained that the International Office on Migration (IOM ) in conjunction with Libya had always helped in sorting out of the returnees.