The third batch of 560 returnees from Libya has arrived Port Harcourt, Mr. Martins Ejike, Southsouth zonal coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told reporters yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
He said the returnees, comprising 540 adults and 20 infants, arrived on board Max Air, registered as 5N-HMM, about 11:52 pm.
Ejike condemned the poor response of states in evacuating returnees from the reception centre.
He said the Federal Government gave the states 48 hours to enable them evacuate their returnees.
The zonal coordinator lamented that states failed to abide by the directives, noting that Southwest states were not responding to the evacuation.
He said the choice of Port Harcourt airport as evacuation route was based on proximity to the most affected states.
“…Edo State alone recorded 309 of 484 migrants. The record also showed over 80 per cent of the returnees were indigenes of Edo and Delta states.
“It is more convenient for the largely affected states to evacuate their returnees from Port Harcourt,” Ejike said.
Spokesman for Max Air Mr. Muhammad Dahiru said the airline was competent to carry 1,680 returnees, if passengers were cleared on time.
He said the airline deployed three aircraft with 560 capacity each for the operation, adding that speedy operation could be actualised, if passengers’ documentation and clearance were not delayed.
One of the returnees, Mr. Paul Eke, thanked the Federal Government for ensuring smooth return of migrants, saying the measure showed government’s commitment to its citizens.
He urged the government to continue its rescue process to the hinterland in Libyan states where Nigerians are being imprisoned and tortured.
“I enjoin the Federal Government to rescue Nigerians trapped in interior parts of Libya.
“I stayed in Zawe Superata. This place is like an exit point to Italy and many Nigerians are being imprisoned there,” Eke alleged.