•PROMISES EXTENSIVE REHABILITATION.
THE Federal Government yesterday flew in 493 Nigerian emigrants stranded in Libya in the first phase of efforts to return the estimated 5,000 stranded in that country (Libya) under harrowing conditions, including slavery.
The Max Air plane conveying the returnees touched down at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa at about 4:55 pm.
Speaking to returnees, leader of the Nigerian delegation to Libya for the repatriation and Minister of Foreign Affairs promised that the Federal Government will extensively rehabilitate and train the 493 Nigerians, who returned from Libya, giving them education and skills to enable them to cater for themselves and live a profitable life like other Nigerians.
The government also called on the returnees made of mostly young men and women to use their lawful experience in Libya to educate other youths in the country on the dangers of embarking on such hazardous journey.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyema spoke yesterday while receiving the returnees at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, near Port Harcourt.
Onyema said, “We know that many of you were trafficked; we know that many of you were taken to Libya without your consent. I want to assure you that the Federal Government will rehabilitate you and train you on skills to enable you to cater for yourselves like other Nigerians.
“We want you to tell other young boys and girls about what you had experienced so far, so that they will not make same mistakes or be deceived into embarking on this hazardous journey.”
The Minister stated that President Muhammadu Buhari sent him in the company of the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Sadiya Faruk and the Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, to Libya to negotiate for the evacuation of the returnees.
He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari put all necessary arrangements in place to enable us to travel to Libya to bring you back to Nigeria. I was accompanied on the journey by the Director-General of NEMA, Federal Commissioner for Refugees and the Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs, amongst others.
“All of us went to Libya, met with their leaders and discussed to ensure your safe passage here. We faced a lot of challenges but we suppressed those challenges and brought you back to Nigeria. You were held in Libya under very inhuman condition.”
The passenger plane, belonging to Max Air, touched down at the Port Harcourt International Airport at exactly 4:45 pm while the returnees were later moved to a transit camp located within the airport.