As another 228 Libya returnees arrived Benin-City, last Wednesday, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II has thrown his weight behind the fight against human trafficking.
Oba Ewuare II, who spoke during the inauguration of the Edo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs by Governor Godwin Obaseki, condemned the act and expressed disappointment at the Nigerian Embassy in Libya and the Libyan government for their inability to tackle the crisis.
The monarch regretted that it was particularly frustrating that it took a report by the Cable News Network (CNN) for government and other stakeholders to respond to the crisis.
The crisis, he said, could have been better managed if relevant authorities had lived up to their responsibilities, saying they allowed it to fester instead.
He commended the governor for his efforts to resettle the Libya returnees through skills acquisition programmes.
Obaseki, who also spoke at the occasion, described the situation in Libya as sad and unacceptable and assured that his administration would continue to partner the traditional council in the areas of law, order and security, stemming the tide of illegal migration, environmental sanitation, registration of Edo citizens and the mobilisation of indigenes and residents to participate in government policies and programmes, settlement of land disputes, agriculture, amongst others. Of the 228 latest returnees, 39 were women, six of whom were pregnant; four were children while others were men.
Sunday Vanguard spoke with a couple, Mr and Mrs Kingslay, who claimed to have watched as 59 Nigerians were shot dead, 19-year-old Precious, who had a baby in Libyan prison, and Blessing who had no training in nursing but providence pushed her to midwife the delivery of five children inside the prison. Their stories:
Mr Kingsley said he decided to embark on the journey to Europe via Libya with his wife. Though they were unable to get to their destination, which is Italy, God gave them a baby girl in Libya
“I travelled with my wife through Kano. From Kano we went to Alghadez, Saba, Tripoli and Sabescerine. When we got to Tripoli, I paid N1million to somebody for myself and my wife for the Mediterranean Sea crossing to Italy but we ended staying there for over one year there. And to make matters worse, there was no money because there was no work. I always called my brother in Nigeria to help us with some to eat. That country is a disaster; they enjoy killing blacks, especially Nigerians. About 59 Nigerians were shot dead in my presence. One of my friends was shot on the leg and the leg was amputated. They pushed me and my wife into the boat to cross the sea but Libyan militia arrested us and took us to prison. I called my brother in Nigeria who sent money to us. I gave the militia the money and we were released from prison. We waited for our man to come and push us again across the sea but while we were waiting, the militia boys came again and started shooting. People started running and I could not escape with my wife carrying our baby, so we surrendered and they took us to prison. Some people, who tried to run away, were shot dead. We spent two weeks in the prison and it was there that we registered and they returned us to Nigeria. And what these Libya people always did was that whenever the United Nations people came, they will quickly take out some Nigerians and hide them in another prison, so that they will not register them and take them home. They do this because they want to be using those people to collect money from families in Nigeria. And in that prison they don’t feed you. And they will beat the hell out of you whenever you fail to bring money from you relations. That place is hell on earth.
Kingsley’s wife: We saw many dead bodies in the desert Were you not scared traveling with you husband to Libya?
No I left everything to God. I became pregnant when I got there. We passed through the desert and saw many dead bodies on the ground. When I was pregnant, I never went to see any doctor or nurse because there was nobody to help you. But I thank God that on the day of delivery, it was very successful. One woman who had experience in delivering babies helped me.
I am happy I returned alive because many people died, some came back with ailments or broken hand or leg but I thank God I came back alive with my family.
I am happy to be back home. But I will never advise anybody to go to Libya. It is not a place that anyone should go. They shoot gun every minute and they had no value for life.