More than 200 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya have been returned to their home country, officials said.
The 242 migrants landed at Lagos airport on a Libyan airline flight at around 9pm local time on Tuesday. Among them were women carrying children and at least one man in a wheelchair.
The federal government said they worked on returning the migrants from Libya in collaboration with the International Organization of Migration. (IOM)
Some of the 242 men and women who returned had been in Libyan detention camps while some of them willingly approached the Nigerian embassy in Libya to return home because of hardship there, authorities said.
A statement by the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s spokesman, Tiwatope Elias-Fatile, said the mission has been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration and to issue Emergency Travelling Certificates to them.
He said, “It is apt to add that our mission in Tripoli has been addressing the problems associated with Nigerian migrants in Libya.
“There were instances when the mission received appeals for intervention from some Nigerian families whose children and relations were victims of inhumane acts in that country.
“The government is also exploring the feasibility of sending aircraft to evacuate Nigerians who are stranded in Libya.”
Abike Dabiri, SSA to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the Nigerian government had been working with the IOM, and the Nigerian Commission for Refugees and Migrants (NCFRMI) and other local agencies for the past year to bring Nigerians back home.
Dabiri told CNN that around 5000 Nigerians have come back from Libya in the past year.
She said: “The President has said any Nigerian who wants to come back should be brought back, so IOM has been helping out.”