Nearly 1,300 Nigerians repatriated from Libya in November
Nearly 1 , 300 Nigerian migrants were brought home from Libya in November — nearly twice as many as in the previous month , the head of the National Emergency Management Agency said on Friday .“1 , 295 Nigerians voluntarily returned from Libya in November after being stranded in the volatile North African country en route ( to ) Europe , ” said Mustapha Maihaja .
Maihaja said his compatriots were sent back in batches between November 6 and November 30 , with the help of the International Organization for Migration and the European Union .
He met some 150 as they touched down at Lagos airport late on Thursday .
Nigerians make up the majority of undocumented migrants trying to make the treacherous crossing via the Mediterranean Sea to Europe .
Repatriations of Nigerians from Libya began nearly a year ago but numbers have increased in recent months .
In October , 826 were returned . Between December 2016 and March 2017, there were a total of 643 returns.
African heads of state have in recent days condemned the treatment of migrants in Libya , including widespread violence and apparent slave trading .
This week , Ghana ’ s President Nana Akufo – Addo condemned Libya — an African Union member — for its lack of solidarity with people from other nations on the continent .
On Thursday , he met French President Emmanuel Macron in Accra and urged young Africans to “ remain in Africa ” to help the continent to develop .
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his compatriots had been sold “like goats ” and promised to repatriate anyone stuck in the country , which fell into lawlessness after the fall of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
Libya ’s UN -backed government hit back at growing criticism, saying in a statement that it was being overwhelmed by illegal immigration.
But the charge de mission of the Libyan embassy in Nigeria , Attia Alkhoder , blamed criminal gangs rather than his own citizens for trafficking and slave trading .
Illegal immigration and claims of slave-trading dominated discussions at the Europe – Africa meeting this week in Ivory Coast.
The heads of nine African and European states , including Libya , agreed to work closely to break up criminal networks and conduct “emergency evacuation operations” of migrants in the coming days and weeks .