The Federal Government yesterday evacuated no fewer than 1,490 stranded Nigerians from Libya to the country in three batches through the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State.
While first flight airlifted 484 victims, the second flight arrived with 446 and the third came in with 560 persons. It was learnt that besides yesterday’s arrival of 560 returnees, more flights were expected to join Max Air to facilitate the evacuation process as ordered by the Federal Government.
Public Relations Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sani Datti, said Medview Airline would soon join Max Air in airlifting more Nigerians until the 5, 037 target was met. However, the Federal Government has urged states that are yet to pick up their returnees to do so without further delay in the interest of their citizens.
It commended states that have been responding positively in coming to pick their returnees. The states yet to comply with the directive include Ondo, Osun and Ogun while Imo, Delta, Anambra, Yobe, Kano, Benue and Kaduna, among others, have been picking up their returnees.
The Federal Government had, after inaugurating the Libya Evacuation Committee headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, gave it 38 days to evacuate all Nigerians stranded in Libya.
Mranwhile, the Edo State government yesterday commended the Federal Government, International Organisation on Migration (IOM), European Union (UN) on their role in the return and rehabilitation of Nigerian victims of trafficking, especially those of Edo extraction.
Senior Special Assistant to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Anti-Human Trafficking, Solomon Okoduwa, also commended Onyeama and the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on the Diaspora, Abike Dabibri and urged the National Agency for the Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to tow the same line.
Okoduwa said over 70 per cent of the deported Nigerians were from the South-South region, with Edo leading in the number of victims.On government’s efforts towards empowering the youths, he said: “Recently, government approved N100 million seed grant and 150 hectares of farmlands to some recently trained returnees to engage them in various skills as they have become more vulnerable.”
Similarly, Yobe State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ahmed Goniri, has said the 29 repatriated indigenes of the state from Libya would be reunited with their families before being released into the society with government support.
Goniri gave the assurance yesterday in Damaturu, the state capital, while briefing journalists on the re-integration and support of the returnees to their communities across the state.