Returnees from Libya urge Nigerians to desist from irregular migration


By Aluta News

Mar. 16, 2022

Nigerian migrants who were safely returned to the country from Libya by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have advised Nigerians to desist from irregular migration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 162 Nigerian migrants were returned to the country by IOM with support from the European Union (EU) through its Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

Of the 162 migrants, 110 were males and 52 were females including 14 persons under the age of 18 and infants.

Some of the returnees, who spoke to NAN, narrated the ordeals they faced in Libya and the terrible treatment Nigerians staying there are subjected too.

Mr Biodun Okunbanjo, 34, who hails from Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State, said that he almost lost his life while in Libya.

“I was going through a lot of hardship while in Nigeria. So, I complained about my predicament to a friend who told me that I could get a better life in Libya so I went ahead with the process.

“I went through hell before getting to Libya and upon reaching there, I realised that empty promises were made to me. I had nothing to do with myself and that was just the beginning of my suffering.

“I was tortured and nearly beaten to death as I couldn’t provide the money my captors demanded for. As a result of the torture, I became blind on one side of my eyes.

“My advice to Nigerians who are looking for a better life is for them to look inwards, and if they decide to migrate to another country, it should be done through proper means,” Okubanjo said.

Another returnee, who simply identified himself as Harrison, narrated his plight in Libya.

“I was promised a better life and so many things if I come to Libya, but on getting there, the opposite was the case.

“I was sold to different people when they realised that I couldn’t give them the money they asked for, and  you can’t imagine the things that I went through as I’m ashamed to even say them.

“As soon as I saw an opportunity to leave through IOM, you can’t imagine how I felt.

“However,  I’m still ashamed because the same way I left the country is the same way I came back so there is really nothing to be happy about,” he said.

Miss Joy Fred, another returnee, revealed that she was forced into prostitution by her cousin who helped in getting her into Libya.

“My cousin was the one who sponsored my trip to Libya after he promised that he would help me to secure a job in a multinational company

“On getting to Libya, the whole narrative changed as he said I would have to pay him back the money he spent on my trip there and that was how he forced me into prostitution.

“I was basically stranded for over three years there until when IOM brought me back to the country,” Fred said.

Mr Adeola Akeem, a returnee, advised Nigerians to desist from irregular migration, noting that anybody who wanted to migrate should follow the proper process.

“If only I had known this or I had someone to advise me against traveling illegally, I wouldn’t have suffered this way and be scarred for life,” he said.

Mr Stephen Rogers, the Head, IOM sub-office, Lagos, noted that the organisation remained committed to enlightening the public on the dangers of irregular migration.

“These migrants have been waiting for months to get a flight back home, which will allow them to reunite with their families and friends.

“IOM‘s role is not over yet as we need to ensure their needs are accommodated under the best conditions and initiate their reintegration support back into their communities of origin,” he said.

NAN reports that 19,452 stranded Nigerians had been assisted to return voluntarily to Nigeria by IOM with support from the European Union from 22 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world.