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FG says 1,700 Nigerians in Libya prison, evacuates 165 illegal migrants

Nigerian returnees from Libya
A typical migrant ship

By Isaac Aregbesola

Abuja, Aug. 30, 2018

The Charge D’ Affairs, Nigeria Mission to Libya, Mr Alex Kefas, says 165 stranded Nigerian irregular migrants were on Thursday evacuated from Libya by the Federal Government.

Kefas, who announced this at a news conference on the current situation of Nigerians in Libya, said that 1,700 Nigerians were serving various jail terms in `accessible’ prisons in that country.

He said that there were still many other Nigerians held for various offences in various prisons in the area being controlled by the rebels which still remained inaccessible to the mission.

“Our major issue now, apart from bilateral issue with Libya, is the issue of migrant crisis; the Federal Government as at today evacuated 3,801 irregular migrants in the last few months

“And, we are also expecting the arrival of 165 irregular migrants that will arrive today (Thursday).

“There are six of them that are dead and are in the mortuary as we cannot locate their families because many of them change names when they get there,” he said.

According to him, out of the 165 irregular migrants that arrived in Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos on Thursday, are 109 that appealed for rescue through a video few weeks ago

“We have 109 that few weeks ago appealed to the president and religious leaders to come to their help through a video that went viral.

“We are happy that they are in this very group that are arriving today (Thursday).

“The mission has been doing a lot to ensure the welfare of the migrants; some of them were taken to the hospitals for child delivery,” he said.

He said that the mission had been getting support from the Federal Government to improve funding to take care of challenges that it had been facing.

“The issue we are talking about is not that we are not doing anything; the European Union, International Organisation on Migration and UN have been doing their best.

“But one of the challenges is that some of the migrants have insisted that Europe is their destination and we cannot stop them according to international law.

“Some of them refused to be repatriated and nobody could be forced to come back home, it is not possible,” he said.

According to him, about 65 of those categories were rescued from the high seas recently and this is almost on weekly basis.

“Some are still there as we speak, even among those that sent the video recorded have refused to be repatriated, so but we are still appealing to them to reconsider their steps,” he said.

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