The largest contingent of Nigerians on Wednesday night returned from Libya since the repatriation exercise commenced in 2017, SaharaReporters reports.
Among the returnees were seven heavily pregnant women and a 66 years old man, Evangelist Kehinde Gideon Obala from Badagry.
The latest returnees numbering 195 consisting of adult males and females and toddlers, were returned to the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
The returnees were brought into the country by Al Buraq Air from Sabha area with flight number: UZ 389/22 and registration number 5A-DMG SEB at 8:20pm.
They were then received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other government officials.
Mr. Idris Muhammed, the Coordinator of NEMA Territorial Office in Lagos, who received the Assisted Voluntary Returnees at the cargo wing of the airport disclosed that the returnees were the 69th batch brought back by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in special intervention programme to repatriate stranded irregular migrants trapped in Libya with funding by European Union.
NEMA said that the returnees consisted 71 female adults, 25 female children and 17 female Infants 17.
Also, male adults were 60, male children 12, while male infants were 10.
In all, the females were 113, while males were 82 with adults as 131, children as 37 and infants as 27 including three males with minor medical issues and seven pregnant women.
Muhammed while welcoming the returnees back on arrival, urged youths to try and look inward and utilise the money they wasted foreign travels on something more fruitful.
He noted that since the EU had closed its borders for irregular migrants, the journey through irregular means had become wasteful and dangerous.
He noted that if the returnees had used the huge amount of money spent on these journeys in Nigeria for a business, they would have been very successful in their endearvours.
"Therefore, you need to strive and embrace Federal Government enabling initiatives to empower the youths,” he added.
The 66 years old, Obala from Badagry claimed that he had spent 10 years in Libya.
He however regretted his sojourn in Libya, stressing that at first, he was a successful business man and artisan in Libya before the war broke out, thereby crumbling his businesses.
He said: “I sell tyres and motor spare parts and they liked my services. I also had a church over there, but everything I worked for were destroyed.
“Ordinarily, I never thought of coming back to Nigeria, but when I was assured and promised that I will be resettled when I return home that was why I came back. I have wasted my life except IOM and government are magnanimous enough to help me start from the scratch.”
Also, Qasim Apena from Ogun State, 55 years who showed how gunshot wounds on the ankles of his two legs disclosed that he was a painter in Libya.
He however lamented that he was shot in the two legs during a business he got for painting a house that would have fetched him 1,250, 000 Libyan money.
He narrated that the problem started when he demanded for his money half way into the job where he was reluctantly given N400, 000.
He added: “Immediately I got the money and at the weekend, my boys and I wanted to take a break to relax, the militants picked us up, collected all the money in our possessions, but I was dragging it with. It was then I was shot on the legs and dumped in dungeon where migrants are kept without medical treatment, but I was helped by other migrants inside the underground camp to remove the bullets in my legs and thanks be to God the wounds healed on it its own.”