POLITICAL NEWS

Buhari raises evacuation committee for Nigerians trapped in Libya

December 27, 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a 17-person fact-finding mission to bring back Nigerians trapped in Libya.

The team may also open talks with Libyan authorities on how to stop the exodus of Nigerians to the Arab country.

The panel has 38 days to evacuate all Nigerians trapped in Libya.

The team, which will leave for Tripoli immediately, will collaborate with Nigerian mission in Libya.

No fewer than 5,037 Nigerians have volunteered to return to the country but the number could rise, with the presence of the committee in Libya.

About 6,091  have been brought back to Nigeria from Libya through collaboration between National Emergency Management Agency( NEMA) and International Organisation for Migration( IOM).

According to investigation by our correspondent, the 17-person team is headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mr Mohammed Babandede, NEMA Director-General, Mr Mustapha Maihaja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons ( NAPTIP) Director-General, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Mrs Sadiya Umar Farouq, some diplomats and nine members of a sub-technical team.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke in confidence, said: “This is the first elaborate measure put in place by the Federal Government under the leadership of Mr Buhari.

Hitherto, NEMA had been managing reception centres for IOM.

“To underscore his commitment, the President has directed that Monitoring and Evaluation desks be opened in his office and in Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s office. So, there is no room for tardiness at all.

“This evacuation started on December 22  and the execution is planned to end within 38 days.

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Another top government  source said “with the approval of the President, an operational secretariat  has been activated. The secretariat, which is headed by DG of NEMA, comprises all stakeholders and security agencies. The centre will be guided by the Monitoring and Evaluation Manual to ensure strict compliance and timely evacuation.

“The government has established a Reception Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital to receive the over 5,037 returnees. The Zonal Coordinator of NEMA will manage the centre.

Max Air and Medview have been approved as carriers to fly home the Nigerians.

“NAPTIP, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons in conjunction with NEMA will be responsible for the rehabilitation of the returnees,” the source said.

“We will receive and profile the returnees, ensure their health status and provide feeding arrangement. University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital has been placed on the alert by Federal Ministry of Health for appropriate medical attention for returnees in need. It is really a tidier structure,” the source said.

The Federal Government is to work with the governors of the returnees’ states.

The governors have supported this evacuation. After profiling, identification and documentation, the returnees will be handed over to their state governors.

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