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 .

AFP​

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