Babandede, who further distinguished between returnees who were trafficked and those smuggled, however stressed that not all Nigerians in Libya are being held or sold into slavery as been reported, adding that a sizeable number of Nigerians are living and doing legitimate businesses in that country.
Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON) President Dr. Ona Ekhomu has advised the Federal Government to returnees from Libya.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama had, on January 5, led a delegation on fact-finding mission to secure the release of Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya. He urged them to be law abiding.
"We had good understanding with Libyan Government and we are happy to bring back these Nigerians home".
Ekhomu lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering the repatriation of the Nigerians, saying the government must also do the "responsible thing" of ascertaining their true identities "as there is a high probability that a few of them may be ISIS fighters escaping from Libya, or coming to Nigeria to execute a possible terrorist plot". We faced a lot of challenges but we were able to overcome them and brought you back to Nigeria. Others are Sadiya Umar- Farouk, Federal Commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.
"We went to Libya, we discussed with the government, we saw all of you young children, young boys and young girls, and we negotiated to ensure you came back". We saw the conditions in which you were held; they were very hard conditions.
Last July, Libya's coastguard and local armed factions began blocking the exit of the migrants by sea, leaving large numbers trapped in the North African country where they regularly face abuse and inhumane conditions. It was because of the respect for Mr President.
"There is no other place in this world that can be there than to be with your brothers, your sister and your parents here in Nigeria". "Many of you were trafficked, many of you were taken against your judgment. I wish to on your behalf thank especially the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Chief Kenneth Kobani, who has been with us since yesterday waiting to receive you".
He urged the youths to become advocates of discouraging intending illegal migrants outside the country. I want to assure you that the federal government will rehabilitate you and train you on skills to enable you cater for yourselves like other Nigerians.
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service Muhammadu Babandede has disclosed that a total of 16,387 Nigerians were deported from different countries in 2017. They are mainly youths aged between 19 and 42 years, majority of the returnees are from Edo and Delta states.
He explained that those who were critically ill were taken to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital for treatment.
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