Nigeria’s government says it has a record of 2,778 of its citizens who are migrants registered in “accessible” detention camps in Libya, ready for repatriation.
The country’s Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement signed by the spokesperson Tiwatope Elias-Fatile on Tuesday, said the country’s embassy in Libya had been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration.
The ministry stated that those registered were issued Emergency Travel Certificates.
The ministry also explained that the embassy in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) repatriates 250 migrants weekly and had returned 3,000 of them so far.
“From the 2,778 registered Nigerians who are still in detention camps, another set of 250 Nigerian migrants will be arriving on Tuesday December 5, at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos at 7pm to be received by NEMA officials.
“The embassy, in collaboration with the IOM repatriates 250 Nigerian migrants by flight to Lagos weekly – each flight can accommodate only 250 passengers.
“The repatriation is a continuous exercise and the embassy routinely issues the requisite travel documents to the migrants.
“The embassy will continue to engage the legitimate government in Libya and other stakeholders in addressing the plight of Nigerian migrants in that country,” the statement read.
The ministry further said that the foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama had invited the Nigerian Embassy’s Head of Mission, Iliya Fachano, to Abuja for consultations.
“He is in Abuja already and during the period of the consultations, arrangements have been made for him to address press conferences on the issue.
“This would afford the Nigerian public the opportunity to hear from him directly.”
The ministry, however, advised intending Nigerian travellers to “avoid Libya at this period, because of the dangers they may encounter in the process of their journey.”
The ministry also urged citizens to reach the Nigerian Embassy in Libya for assistance through these emergency numbers: +218910144487, +218925099384 and +218917953365.
It said that the embassy had received requests for intervention from some relations of the victims based in Nigeria through these contacts.
While condemning the slave market in Libya, the ministry said it would engage the UN, African Union, European Union and other stakeholders to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
“It violates the fundamental human rights of the victims and it is unacceptable to the civilised world.”