The Federal Government, in collaboration with International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), has repatriated 150 stranded Nigerians from (Niamey) Niger Republic.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this while receiving the returnees at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano on Monday.
Umar-Farouq, represented by Director of Humanitaria Affairs in the Ministry, Grema Ali, said the returnees arrived at the airport at about 3:45 p.m.
The returnees were transported into Nigeria by the SKY MALI Airlines, operated by Ethiopian aviation industry.
According to her, the returnees were repatriated to Nigeria through a voluntary programme.
“The programme was meant for the distressed Nigerians who had left the country to search for greener pastures across European countries and Africa but could not afford to return when their journey became frustrated,” he said.
The returnees comprised 125 males,14 females and 11 children.
“The returnees are from different parts of Nigeria especially Yobe, Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto, Katsina and Kano states, among others,” she said.
She explained that the returnees would undergo a three-day training on how to achieve self sustainability and would be provided with seed capital to enable them engage in productive ventures to be self reliant.
She advised the general public to avoid endangering their lives by travelling to seek for greener pastures in other countries, adding that no country was better than their country of origin.
Umar-Farouq enjoined them to learn from their experiences, be law abiding citizens and avoid illegal migration.
Recounting their ordeals, Hajiya Amina Aliyu from Kano State, said she travelled to Niger with her three kids and sister, Zara’u Aliyu, to seek for greener pastures.
“We intended to travel to Algeria but on our way, the driver dropped us in Niger Republic; we really surffered, no food no water,” she said.
” My husband ran away and left me with my kids for the past three years and my parents are old and poor so I had no option than to travel to seek for greener pasture.”
“Before I left Nigeria, I was selling rice and beans.”
Aliyu commended the Federal Government and IOM for the kind gesture.
Aminu Suleiman, another returnee from Yobe State, said he traveled to Libya to seek for greener pasture.
“I was a tailor before I left Yobe, I wanted to travel to Europe from Libya to seek for greener pasture because I wanted to open fashion academy in Nigeria.
“My dream of opening a fashion academy has ended because I came back with nothing, I suffered a lot; no accommodation, no food but I thank God I came back alive.”
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the returnees were received by the officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), along with other sister security agencies.
Other organisations at the airport were the Sate Emergency Management Agency SEMA, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs, Nigerian Red Cross Society and Department of State Services (DSS) among others. (NAN)