Libyan returnees seek relocation from Port Harcourt airport

Returnees queue to be attended to by state officials after alighting from chartered aircraft that brought home 150 migrants from Libya at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, on December 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI


About 24 Libyan returness have asked their states to relocate them from the Port Harcourt International Airport.They protested yesterday against what they called their continued stay at the airport’s reception centre.

The Guardian learnt that the returnees were not supposed to have stayed at the airport for more than 48 hours after arrival.The victims lamented that their various states had not come to receive them more than two weeks after arriving from Libya.The affected returnees are from Osun, Ekiti and Kwara states.

Meanwhile, another 136 Nigerians stranded in Libya have been evacuated to the country.The victims, who arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport around 1.11a.m yesterday, were the fifth batch to be lifted by the Federal Government. The first flight had lifted 484 and the second, 446, while the third and fourth flights lifted 560 and 465 persons.

The Federal Government had planned to evacuate 5,037 stranded Nigerians within 38 days.But, it was learnt that a clash between some militia groups delayed the profiling of the victims, as it resulted in the closure of the Tripoli airport.

The South-South Cordinator of the National Emergency and Management Agency, (NEMA), Ejike Martins, disclosed that one of the 136 returness, who fell sick had been taken to the hospital.Represented by a NEMA official, Ebhodaghe Eric, he said, so far, 2,091 had been evacuated, leaving over 2,000 stranded Nigerians in the Arab country.

According to him: “I would not call it a protest, but somebody has the right to complain. I think the returnees felt that they had overstayed at the camp because they were seeing other state governments coming to pick their colleagues. As humans, they may have felt lonely and desired to go home too.

“The guidelines for the operation is that NEMA receives the victims and hand them over to the state governments, who obtain approval to evacuate their returnees. But sometimes, the procedure is slow.”

The coordinator explained that the affected states had earlier evacuated some of their returnees at the camp, adding that it was those in the fourth batch who are yet to go home.He appealed to the various state governments to hasten up the process to take their returness home.

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Libyan returnees


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