By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria has repatriated at least 9,438 of its nationals trapped in Libya while efforts are ongoing to bring back everyone willing to return to their country, according to an official involved in the repatriation process.
“So far, about 9,438 migrants have been repatriated from Libya in collaboration and support of the International Migration Organization (IOM),” Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a presidential aide on foreign relations and diaspora, said in a statement late Sunday.
“Those that were brought back are being profiled and enrolled in various technical and vocational training centers with relevant agencies and nongovernmental organizations,” she added.
The official said the repatriation, ordered by the president, began shortly after footages emerged on the Internet of some of the migrants narrating their ordeals in the war-torn North African country and urging the Nigerian government to bring them home.
Dabiri-Erewa said the Nigerian mission in Tripoli has traced another 116 of its nationals to a detention center in Zawiya and has now processed their repatriation to the country.
“Regrettably, she said 24 of them have refused to come back insisting they must get to Europe,” she said, appealing once again to “Nigerian youths to avail themselves the opportunities abound in the country as against risking their lives to search for a non-existing and deadly greener pastures abroad.”
Hundreds of Africans — including Nigerians — have died recent years trying to cross the Mediterranean sea through Libya in search of better opportunities in Europe.