No fewer than four hundred and eighty one Nigerians returned to the country yesterday from Libya. All the returnees will be temporarily camped at a Reception Centre in Port Harcourt pending formal transfer to their states.
The returnees were accompanied by the Director- General of the National Emergency Management Agency( NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and a representative of the National Security Adviser.
A delegation, led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had negotiated the exit of the returnees with the Libyan Government.
The returnees landed at the Port Harcourt International Airport at about 5.05pm on Sunday into the waiting arms of Onyeama and other members of the delegation.
Addressing the returnees in Port Harcourt, Onyeama said: “ On behalf of the President,I welcome you back to your country. Mr. President and the good people of Nigeria were concerned about your wellbeing and sent a delegation.
“The President put all resources at our disposal to bring you back. We came and saw where so many of you were being held in difficult and inhuman condition.
“We had good understanding with Libyan Government and we are happy to bring back these Nigerians home. The Federal Government will do its best to return them safely to their various states.
“This administration will continue to protect every Nigerian at home and abroad.
“Many of you were trafficked. Many of you were taken against your judgment. I want to assure you that you will not abandoned.”
The Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, who spoke yesterday, said: “In line with the mandate from President Muhammadu Buhari, we have started repatriating Nigerians who are trapped in Libya.”