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11 Dec 2017

We watched helplessly as Libyans raped Nigerian ladies –Returnees Share More Shocking Stories

A 32-year-old Libyan returnee, Mr. David Onah, has said that they watched in consternation while Nigerian ladies were being raped in slave camps. Onah described the camp as a modern day slavery site, where victims were sold. The returnee disclosed that whenever it was nightfall, those imprisoned become frightened. He said: “When night comes, everyone gets worried and scared.

Nobody knows who would be the next person to be sold. Everyone knows that buyers usually come at night. In the camp, we ate a slice of bread. And it is usually five persons to a plate of macaroni without water. “There is no place like home; many Nigerian girls were raped in our presence in the camp.

We dared not challenge the Libyans, unless such a person was ready to die. I thanked God when my name was mention among those returning home.” The returnee also disclosed that traffickers in the North African country used to hide victims under refuse in order to escape arrest and deportation. Onah was among 166 Nigerians who returned to Nigeria on Friday. He said: “When we got to Libya, the traffickers will hide about 20 inside a pick up van and cover us with refuse.

We would pay the pick-up driver, who is a Libyan between N150,000 and N200,000. The payment is made through our agents. Our agents would instruct us to lie down inside the van. The driver would then cover us with tarpaulin, before pouring refuse on us.”

Onah said after covering them with refuse, the driver would bring out 50 litre of water and placed it on the victim’s back in the van. The idea is to fool the security agencies into believing that the van was truly carrying just refuse.

He recounted: “The first time I experienced it, six persons among us died in the process. Their corpses were thrown into the desert. It was from there I knew I was in problem. We were 15 that were trafficked. I embarked on the journey with the hope of crossing to Europe for a better life.

I wanted a better life for myself, parents and siblings. I regret embarking on that journey. I spent three months in detention camp. We were like fish in the camp.” Another returnee, Isaac Omorodion, from Edo State, said he regretted going to Libya. According to him, it is dangerous and deadly “going through Libya to Europe”.

He said: “It’s better for me to manage whatever I have in my country and plan around it. I spent a year and two months without achieving anything. It was almost like I went there to suffer.” Just like Onah, Omorodion said he and other others, held in the Libyan camp, were fed a slice of bread.

The returnee said, when it was lunch time, they would be beaten while the ladies would be harassed before the meal. He said: “For about two weeks now, I have not had my bath. I travelled to Libya in search of greener pastures.

The plan was to cross to Europe. I was a commercial driver in Benin before a friend advised me to travel to Libya and cross over to Europe. “I thank the Federal Government for bringing us back home. We have suffered a lot in Libya.

Many of us died over there. Some usually go missing whenever mercenaries came to detention camp.” Lucky Ozondu from Agbor in Delta State said: “It was my younger brother who had crossed to Europe through Libya that advised me to come to Europe. He told me that the only way was for me to go through the route he took.

I left Nigeria on April 25. I did not spend a year in Libya, but I saw death there. It was God who brought me back to Nigeria. “I was arrested two weeks after I arrived the country on the street by some people who were not police.

They took me to the detention camp. It was inside the camp that the Libyan men hit my head with iron. I was unconscious for two days without medical care. It was God that revived me. “I spent about N850,000 to get to Libya. We were like monkeys in the camp.

When officials of the Nigerian Embassy, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and European Union came to my camp to compile our lists, some girls who gave birth for Libyan men refused to return home. I decided to return home and start a new life.” Another returnee, who did not want his name mentioned, explained that it was due to inadequate feeding in the camp that some Nigerian nationals and other Africans protested.

They even attempted to pull down the gate of the detention camp. When guards at the camp noticed what was happening, they started shooting sporadically. Many people sustained gunshot wounds. He said: “Some of those shot had not been seen since then.

The guards told us that whoever died, would be taken out and dumped in the desert. Three of my friends, who were hit by stray bullets, were taken out and I have not seen them since then. People were dying every day in the detention camp due to maltreatment.”

Emmanuel Kessh from Delta State, who dropped out of the university to embark on the ill-fated journey, left Nigeria in August. Kessh expressed happiness on arrival to Nigeria. He said: “I learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed evacuation of all Nigerians from Libya. I thank the President for this because Nigerians in Libya are suffering and are being treated like animals. Nobody is talking about human rights’ violations over there. This is a bitter experience, which I will never pray for my worst enemy to go through.”

The Zonal Director of National African Commission for Refugees and Migrants, Mrs. Margret Ukegbu, who spoke on behalf of the commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Saidu Umar Farouk, said: “The deportees were brought back by the European Union and International Organisation for Migration, but our own role is to provide the returnees food, shelter and train those who want to learn a trade in their shelter.

“Those who wish to stay in our shelters for 90 days will be taught on different vocational skills like bead making, cake baking, interior decoration and a lot more, to start a new life, because of what they had gone through in Libya.” According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 166 Nigerians were brought back from Libya into the country by the IOM. NEMA South-West Zonal Coordinator, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, representing the Director- General of the agency, Mustapha Maihajja, who received the returnees on behalf of the Federal Government, thanked the IOM and the EU for their humanitarian gestures. The DG enjoined the returnees to learn from the bitter lessons they learnt in the course of their unpalatable sojourn and make better use of opportunities which abound in Nigeria.

The returnees comprised 155 male adults, five female adults, three children, one female child and an infant. They all arrived via BURAQ airline 737 with registration number 5A-DMG at Cargo Wing of Murtala Muhammad International Airport about 2a.m. on Friday.

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