The time was 9.10pm. A Buraq Air’s Boeing 737 with tail number 5A-DMG landed on the tarmac of the cargo terminal of the Murtala International Airport and out came 20-year-old Clement Chibuzor, along with 149 other Nigerians whose ghoulish appearances told of the horrific experiences they must have experienced in Libya.
Over the past two weeks, Nigerians have added their voices to the global uproar over the exposed tales of slave trade, torture and killings of migrants in Libya.
Over 5,000 Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya by the International Organisation for Migration since the beginning of 2017.
Each time a new batch of returnees arrive, they bring with them tales of horror from the transit country, where they hoped to take the treacherous journey through the Mediterranean Sea.
Saturday PUNCH spoke with many of the returnees as they touched down on Thursday night. They told the tales of man’s inhumanity to man.
Chibuzor, a Delta State indigene, was just a teenager working as a Plaster of Paris artisan when his father met a trafficker, who told him he could get his son to Europe.
The young lad had worked as a POP artisan for eight months with little money in his pocket, his father told him not to worry about the money.
“I never thought about going to Europe. My father was the one who brought the idea. He sold his land and raised N450,000 which he gave to my ‘burger’ (trafficker). He did not tell my mother until I was already in Libya,” Chibuzor said.
The young man spent 18 months in Libya. He left the country, a hopeful man. On Thursday, he returned like a mere cargo, thankful to be back to safety.
As he stepped off the plane, Chibuzor looked nothing like a 20-year-old.
His hollow cheeks told of starvation while his skin told of suffering in disease-ridden cells.
“After many of my co-travellers died in the desert, I was kidnapped as soon as I got to Libya. I was in prison for four months until my father sent N300,000 for my release.
“In the prison, our food was a piece of bread every day. When I got out of the prison. I was on the street one day when I met a Nigerian who promised to help me. I worked in his house for some weeks until he sold me to a gang. They kept me in a cell. I was there for a very long time. I cannot count the number of people who died in the cell.
“While working on the streets of Libya, if the gangs saw you, they would grab you and put you in a cell. They put you in a cell with many others where you would either be sold or made to call your people to pay for your freedom.
“While I was trying to get money the to free myself from the prison, I spoke with my father two months ago. He then told me that if I had the chance, I should return home. I told him that I might die before I had the opportunity to return home because I saw people die every day.”
We drank urine, fuel in desert – Kelvin, 21
Many of the returnees who shared their experiences like Chibuzor, vowed never to attempt the dangerous journey again. But experts say that so far as there are few success stories amidst the deaths, some of the returnees may try again when the shock of their time in Libya wear off.
Kelvin Sunday, 21, an Edo State indigene, who returned with Chibuzor, told Saturday PUNCH that he was in Libya for seven months.
He spent N965,000 to get to Libya after raising the money with the help of friends and his my sister.
Sunday explained that a friend of his, who made it to Europe, convinced him to embark on the journey.
According to him, 41 of them set out in Kano for the journey through the desert but only 10 made it to Libya.
He said their fate was sealed when their vehicle developed an engine fault in the desert.
Sunday said, “We were in the desert for three days without food or water. We were drinking our urine to survive. It got to a point that when there was no more urine to drink, we started to drink fuel.
“When we got to Libya, I was working in my burger’s house. I spent two weeks there before I went to the seaside (in Tripoli) where we would cross. From Sabha to the seaside in Tripoli, I spent two weeks. On the way, some traffickers kidnapped us. They beat and loaded us into their Hilux van, but few of us jumped down and I broke my leg. I managed to escape as they were shooting.
“We spent two days in the desert again after that escape. We later saw a motorist whom we begged to help us get to the seaside.
“We were camped at the seaside for three months without any opportunity to cross through the seas. People trying to cross the sea told me to avoid Nigerians helping Libyans to sell people. But later our camp was raided by soldiers, who took us to prison.”
He had spent four months in the cell before luck smiled on him and IOM officials effected his repatriation along with many others.
I return home as a one-eyed man – Okotie, 35
Less than a year after Harrison Okotie, 35, got to Libya, he was kidnapped by some violent traffickers, who hit him in the eye with the butt of a gun.
He lost his left eye to that attack.
“Now, I don’t know if my wife and two children would ever recognise me when I get back home. I left Nigeria a whole man but I am returning with one eye,” Okotie said.
He explained that before leaving Nigeria in 2014, he worked as a painter after graduating from the Delta State University.
After paying N600,000 for the journey through the desert, he got to Libya where he was grabbed off the street by some traffickers who sold him for 2,000 dinars (about N529,000).
“When you got to the person you were sold to, he sold you again for double the previous amount.
“Many Nigerians have gone mad and cannot even say where they are in Libya right now. The day officials came to register us for repatriation, we were in a queue when one of the Libyan officials shot a Nigerian dead right there. They said he was trying to run, whereas he was desperate to return home.”
Another returnee, Esosa Osas, 25, who was a hairdresser before he left Nigeria, spent six months in Libya. She told tales of many women being raped.
“It is either rape or death. Nobody could refuse being raped,” she said.
A fellow Edo State indigene, Odion Saliu, 26, told Saturday PUNCH that the Nigerian trafficker who facilitated her trip lied to her.
She said, “She told me that once in Kano, we were going to take a plane to Libya. I was shocked when we were loaded into a vehicle.
“We spent nine days crossing the desert to Libya. I was kidnapped and sold at least three times before God brought me back to my fatherland. I am really thankful to God that I am alive.”
The Nigerian traffickers fueling the trafficking industry in Libya seems to have attracted the attention of the government.
She said the Federal government’s whistleblower policy against human trafficking would ensure a handsome reward for credible information about human traffickers .
“Traffickers must be prosecuted, must be arrested and they must be known. There is a whistle-blower policy by NAPTIP; report traffickers, they are amongst you’
An official of the Edo State task force on illegal migration, Mr. Okoduwa Solomon, told Saturday PUNCH that since November 7, the state had taken custody of at least 897 Libyan returnees who are indigenes of the state.
He explained that the exercise to help them resettle in Nigeria would continue so far as there were still Nigerians trapped in Libya.
“We are using the returnees to raise awareness about the dangers of illegal migration in Edo State,” he said.(Punch)
Nigerian Man Returns N150m Wrongfully Paid To His Account In Qatar Meets Buhari’s SSA In Abuja (Photo)
A Nigerian identified as Michael Jonathan Asemota a.k.a Teddy has been hailed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, for his sincerity and honesty in returning QR1,502,000 ($441,127.99) about N150 million wrongfully posted into his account in Qatar.
According to a statement by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, the Special Assistant on Media to Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the SSA gave the commendation when she received Michael Asemota in her office on Wednesday in Abuja.
Hon Abike said that such a rare display of honesty and sincerity from a Nigerian in the Diaspora has given the country a facelift as well as other Nigerians living in Qatar, and urged Asemota to continue to be a good ambassador of Nigeria and implore other Nigerians in the Diaspora to emulate the positive image he has given to Nigeria in Qatar .
She said; “With this exceptional act of honesty, you have become a positive image for Nigerians and Nigeria in Qatar in the midst of bad news tag against Nigerians in the Diaspora.
“We are truly proud of you and urge you to continue to extol the virtues and strength of the Nigerian heritage of honesty, integrity and honour. Your shinning beacon serves as inspiration to the Youth of Nigeria”, Dabiri-Erewa stated in a letter of commendation personally signed by her and given to Asemota.
Michael Asemota, a native of Edo state but based in Doha, Qatar, had opened an account with a cheque of QR150, 200 with an undisclosed commercial bank, where he is the sole signatory of the account.
Speaking while narrating his experience to the SSA during the courtesy call in Abuja, he said; “as i got back home, I received an alert showing that a QR1,502,000 had been credited into my account by mistake instead of QR150,200.
“I went to see the manager to report the error of QR1,502,000 deposited into my account. After checking for confirmation, the manager gave me a warm handshake in appreciation.”
Asked why he alerted the bank about the error, Asemota said: “I knew the money did not belong to me and shouldn’t be in my account in the first place, so there were no motives and temptations to keep it.”
He advised people faced with similar situations to ”immediately notify their bank to avoid any potential problems as the bank will eventually trace their mistake back to your account and withdraw the mistakenly deposited money.”
He said the singular act has given Nigeria and Nigerians positive image in Qatar in the midst of bad stories of Nigeria emanating from the country.
Asemota is an official of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation-Qatar (NIDO-Qatar), the umbrella body of Nigerian residents in the country.
Pretty Lady Shares Amazing Survivor Story After Suffering 3rd Degree Burns (Graphic Photos)
Meet 24-year old burn survivor, Julie S.-Future who suffered a terrible accident in 2016 that left her with 3rd degree burns all over her body, spent 4 weeks in the hospital and had 4 surgical procedures.
Read her touching story below…
July 21st 2016: I was a server at a (hole-in-the-wall) nightclub. The food was served and prepared under a tent adjacent to the kitchen door of the club. On that particular night there was a crowd of customers around the tent. Two of the customers got into a dispute and one pulled out a firearm and began shooting.
Everyone turned to run and a propane fueled fryer was tripped over and the oil flew everywhere. It clung to the back of my clothes and began to cook my skin. At this point I was now inside the nightclub waiting for the shooting to cease. When I arrived at the hospital thirty minutes later they removed the clothes and said they would not be able to treat me there. I was given several bags of morphine and transferred to a Burn Center. I had suffered 3rd degree burns. I spent 4 weeks in the hospital and undergone 4 surgical procedures.
When I was released I had three months of physical therapy to regain full range of motion. In that time I dealt with depression and insecurities. Getting over the idea that this was my new skin and my new battle was not the easiest pill to swallow. I was 22 conceited and shallow so not having perfect skin seemed like I was paying for my sins. Took a lot of seclusion meditation prayer and self love to get to the woman I am today.
Now that chapter 24 is here I’m ready for the world! Never in a million years did I think this would be my truth and my purpose in life but I’m more than honored to be here inspiring people of all ages and all issues to love themselves and fight to live another day. Newly You: Survivor Line by Ju The Superhuman will be more than a brand it will be a lifestyle! Tag a Survivor who needs to see this.
Actress Tonto Dikeh Continues With Her Reality Show, Despite Court Orders Banning her (VIDEO)
Yesterday, Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh was served court papers by her ex husband, Olakunle Churchill prohibiting her from portraying their son, King in her upcoming reality show.
But it seems all that fell on deaf ears as she has continued to campaign for her ‘King Tonto’ reality show despite the court orders and the moves made by Churchill.
Well, we can only wait to see how everything unfolds.
She took to her instagram page to share the below one minute campaign video on her page telling the fans to watch out.
She captioned it:
THE GOOD THE BAD THE UGLY AND
MY RAW TRUTH
#KINGTONTO THE REALITYTV SOON OUT..
#ANTICIPATE #I AM KING TONTO #MAMAKING #KINGTONTO #LINDAIKEJA #PRODUCTION #REALITYTV #GREATNESS CANT BE STOPPED� #SOONCOME #YOUR FAVOURITE DRAMA QUEEN #2018.