Tracy Stephen practically demonstrates how more than 48 migrants were squeezed like sardines into a vehicle meant for 8 on their three-day journey from the Nigeria-Niger border through the Sahara Desert to Sakha in Libya. (PRNewsFoto/Emmanuel TV)
Libyan forces have arrested gang members suspected of torturing Nigerians and other African migrants.
They are reported to have been arrested near Tripoli after torture video surfaced on Social media.
Details later but Nigerians who returned from Libya have narrated their harrowing experience.
Miss Loveth Ekumabo, 25-year-old Libya returnee, who blamed her father’s incestuous behaviour for her decision to flee to Libya, at least, for safety from her father; narrated how she was subjected to inhuman condition.
She described her journey to Libya as “jumping from frying pan into fire’’.
She has, in her life, gone through bitterness, especially her stay in faraway Libya, where she undergone forced labour and made a subject of serial rape.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), she cursed all those who raped her in Libya.
Migrants in Libya hoping to cross to Italy
Mr Harrison Okotie, 35, married and has two children is one of the returnees with gory story to tell.
Okotie, who hails from Ughelli South local government area of Delta, left everything in Benin, where he had lived all his life, before leaving for Libya in search of greener pasture to take care of his family.
He noted that his journey through the desserts without food and water and the inhuman treatment meted on him, made him realised that there is no place like home.
”I will never in my life think of leaving my country again. Whether there is work or no, I will stay here and manage with my family.
Libya returnee, Josephine with her child
”The Nigerians held-up in Garian prisons are well over 4,000. The Libya authorities do not want to release them because they are making money from them.
”They will call you from prison and ask you to call your people in Nigeria to send money for them to release you. Even if you succeed in getting money from Nigeria, they still would not let you go.
”It is a big business. They are not happy that the United Nations and international bodies are helping to deport people to their countries. So they now keep Nigerians in their underground prisons.
He said: ”It was a horrible experience. One day a truck that carried 28 people, 15 of them died on the way due to lack of food and water.’’
The story of 34-year old Miss Josephine Ajabor, also from Delta, is however strange.
Mr Sunday Ehiagina, another returnee, squandered his life savings on the trip to Libya.
Ehiagina, a native of Irrua in Esan Central local government area of Edo, said he owned and operated a shoe factory for seven years in Benin.
In Libya’s Garian and Saba prisons many people are tortured.
Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP), had disclosed that more than 25,000 Nigerians have been held in slave and sex camps in Libya.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, made this known while defending the agency’s 2018 budget before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Tuesday.
NAPTIP: Fighting human trafficking
She said of the figure, about 5000 of the victims were repatriated within the period in 2017.
”A large number of Nigerians have also been returned from other countries in Europe and Africa.
”All these people need to be properly received, profiled and assisted.
Julie Okah-Donli, NAPTIP DP
”NAPTIP has been working in conjunction with other governmental and non governmental agencies such as NEMA, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and others to provide help to these unfortunate Nigerians,”she said.
She lamented that in spite of the evils of human trafficking not so much attention was focused on the menace.
She said the recent trend which marked the resurgence of slave trade was more alarming and required the attention it deserved.