152 stranded Nigerians evacuated from Libya

THE Nigerian Government in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have evacuated 152 stranded Nigerians from Libya.

The evacuated Nigerians with illegal immigrant status arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, on Tuesday evening.

“Today, we have successfully evacuated another 152 Nigerians stranded in Libya to Nigeria. Because of their status as undocumented immigrants, they become vulnerable to exploitation and degrading treatment, including forced labour and prostitution,” Head of Nigeria’s Mission in Libya Kabiru Musa, said in a statement.

Musa noted this was the third exercise the Nigerian government and IOM have carried out in 2023, with a successful evacuation of nearly 500 Nigerians stranded in Libya to Nigeria since January.

“We evacuated almost 4,000 stranded Nigerians from Libya in 2022 and we hope to surpass that number this year.

“The federal government is determined to protect the rights of these migrants and will continue to facilitate their safe and voluntary return home,” Musa said.

Libya is a transit country for irregular migrants hoping to travel to the Western and other parts of the world, but sometimes become stranded in the country.

Since 2015, more than 60,000 migrants in Libya have been repatriated to different countries of origin across Africa and Asia through assisted return programmes that sometimes do not meet international human rights laws and standards, a report of the UN Human Rights Office published last October revealed.

The report which analysed the human rights protection gaps in the context of assisted returns from Libya stated that while ‘assisted returns’ of migrants to their countries of origin are, in principle, voluntary, many of the assisted returns carried out from Libya lacked free, prior and informed consent.



    It also found that migrants are frequently compelled to accept assisted return to escape an environment of impunity, abusive detention conditions, threats of torture, ill-treatment, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, extortion, and other human rights violations and abuses.

    “Once in Libya, migrants risk being systematically and routinely subjected to criminalisation, marginalisation, racism and xenophobia, and face a wide range of human rights violations and abuses by both State and non-State actors,” the report noted.

    At the same time, there are virtually no safe and regular pathways for admission to and stay in third countries for migrants trapped in Libya.

    As a result, many migrants find they have no choice but to return to the same circumstances that made them leave their countries in the first place.

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