Thousands of Nigerians rescued from Libyan jails

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – MORE than 8 000 Nigerian migrants that had been stranded and detained in the hostile Libya have been evacuated back home.

The latest charter plane carrying 218 returnees landed at the Murtala International Airport in Lagos this week.

The evacuation follows a collaboration between the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) launched in April 2017.

Since the launch of the joint initiative, IOM has facilitated 39 charter flights from Libya.

The initial target under the EUTF-IOM partnership was to provide reintegration assistance for 3 800 returnees.

Nigerians were for two years in a row the main nationality of those who arrived in Italy through Libya by sea, with 36 352 arrivals in 2016.

There were some 18 158 arrivals in 2017.

Enira Krdzalic, IOM Chief of Mission in Nigeria, said with some 8 500 returnees back home and more anticipated to come, issues such as unemployment, especially in high areas of return now posed a challenge to stakeholders.

“However, not all is lost. IOM is committed to providing support to the Federal Government of Nigeria in ensuring that Nigerian returnees under the programme are fully reintegrated,” Krdzalic said.

Caught up in the civil strife besetting Libya, thousands of migrants are detained under horrible conditions after failed attempts to reach Europe.

The North African country is suffering the aftermath of the overthrow of the then President Muammar Gaddafi during the Arab uprisings in 2011.
–CAJ News

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