At least 128 more Nigerians stranded in Libya have been brought back to their country, bringing the number of illegal migrants repatriated since 2017 from the North African country to 20,080.
The latest evacuees from Libya arrived in the evening of March 29, 2023 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
The Nigerian government, with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), carried out the evacuation of the country’s migrants living illegally in Libya.
Mr Kabiru Musa, the Charge D’affiares en titre of the Nigerian Mission in Libya, said the 128 evacuees were the second batch of stranded Nigerians repatriated by the country’s government and IOM within 24 hours.
According to him, Nigeria’s government remains committed to evacuating whoever is ready to leave that country under the IOM voluntary repatriation.
“Our mission is always open to facilitating the return of stranded Nigerians living in Libya who are willing to return home. Last year, Nigeria’s government evacuated almost 4,000 stranded Nigerians and we hope to evacuate more this year,” Musa said.
"The EU-IOM Joint Initiative has been instrumental in safely returning and reintegrating Nigerian nationals since April 2017 and we are happy to know that operations have resumed,” said Samuela Isopi, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and Ecowas.
“We are welcoming the flight from Tripoli, and we aim at successful reintegration for all returnees," Isopi said.
Libya transit for Nigerians
Libya has long been an important transit and destination country for migrants arriving from different parts of Africa.
IOM’s latest DTM report indicates that Nigerian migrants make up to six percent of migrants in Libya, the country’s fifth largest migrant population. According to IOM data, Libya followed by Niger and Mali are the primary transit countries for Nigerian migrants.
He said that the IOM worked closely with the government of Nigeria and specifically with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and the National Immigration Service (NIS).
It is also working with Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) to facilitate the humane, orderly and dignified movement of returning migrants.