253 Nigerians, who have been stranded in Libya were Tuesday deported back to Nigeria aboard an Airbus A333-200 with registration number 5A LAT.
The 253 returnees who were conveyed on the Libyan Airline plane comprised of 140 adult females and 8 children. Also aboard were 103 adult male and 3 male children.
This is the largest single batch of deportees to arrive Lagos Airport in recent times. The returnees journey back to Nigeria, as usual , was facilitated by International Organisation for Migration, IOM, after the Federal Government asked for its assistance after confirming that some Nigerians were willing to return home.
The aircraft conveying them landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, around 8:10pm yesterday and were received at the Hajj Terminal by the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA. There were two medical cases among the deportees with one of them suffering serious burns on her face and the second had mental depression.
Addressing newsmen at the Hajj Camp wing of the airport where the returnees were profiled, the Director General of NEMA, Engr Mustapha Maihaja , represented by the Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, Dr. Abdullahi Onimode, said the deportees would be given some token to go back to their respective destinations. He also advised those leaving the country in search of greener pastures to have a rethink and stay in the country to develop it.
The NEMA boss, in a repeated sermon, said, "We are giving them some stipends. We need to let them realize that the country they left some years ago is not the same country they are meeting today. We have moved ahead and everybody now has equal opportunity to be the best you can be."
Some of the deportees said they will never leave Nigeria again. One of them who identified herself as Mary told Vanguard that it was a miracle she returned safely back to Nigeria as she was being sold like a piece of merchandise in Libya. According to her," They were selling some of us like wood from one guard who will take us to some destination and again sell us to another who will now be our new owner. That will take us again to some distance and say his contract with us has expire and again sell us to another person."
She added that " if you complain , they will ask you if you don't want to go to Europe again. My brother, e no easy", she laughed.