THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Nigerian Mission in Tripoli has successfully evacuated 137 stranded Nigerians, who were irregular migrants, from Libya.
Amb. Kabiru Musa, Chargé D’affaires en titre, of the Nigerian Mission to Libya, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, in Abuja.
Musa said that the 137 returnees departed Misrata, Libya on October 24 at 2.30pm aboard a chartered flight No. UZ189 and were expected to arrive the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 5pm (Nigerian Time).
According to him, the returnees include 76 male adults, 52 female adults, four children, and five infants.
Musa said that the evacuation exercise was part of the Federal Government citizen’s diplomacy drive.
“This will continue to ensure safe returns of vulnerable Nigerians outside the shores of the country.
“The IOM under its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme in collaboration with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Tripoli successfully carried out an orderly, safe and dignified return of 137 stranded Nigerians.
“This is part of efforts to assist Nigerians in difficult circumstances to return home and re-unite with their families,” he said.
He explained that the returnees were irregular migrants and mostly victims of human trafficking.
“As a result of Libya’s strategic location on the Mediterranean coast, it has continued to be a transit point and destination for human trafficking.
“While measures are in place to fight the criminal gangs that indulge in the illicit trade in human beings, rescue efforts and the repatriation exercise will be ongoing as part of the mission’s consular responsibilities to Nigerian citizens.
“So far, nearly 3,000 Nigerians were returned to Nigeria from Libya between January and October through the IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return programme,” Musa stated.
Musa said that arrangements had been made with relevant Federal Government agencies and international organisations to ensure the rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees upon arrival to the country. (NAN)