In Summary
  • The UN has urged Libya to agree to shut down 30 centres holding 15,000 migrants, whose detention has become a pressing issue after video footage showing African men sold in Libyan slave auctions sparked global outrage.

  • Nigerians make up the majority of undocumented migrants trying to make the treacherous crossing via the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

  • Their repatriation began nearly a year ago but numbers have increased recently, with nearly 1,300 brought home in November

LAGOS

Nigerian migrants expressed relief as they arrived home on Tuesday from Libya, describing the "hell" of harsh conditions in detention camps where they had been held.

African heads of state have condemned the treatment of undocumented migrants in Libya, including widespread violence and apparent slave trading.

RETURNEES

The 144 returnees who touched down late on Tuesday, and another planeload expected to land shortly after, are part of a repatriation programme that Nigeria has stepped up in recent months.

One man who gave his name as Franklin told AFP that he was "very, very happy" to return.

"It's good to be home, because I've been in hell in the land of Libya. I'll start a new life in my country," he said as he waited to be given food.

Nigerian returnees from Libya.

A returnee mother plays with her child during the screening of 150 migrants brought home from Libya at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on December 5, 2017. Some 150 Nigerians voluntarily returned from Libya after being stranded in the volatile North African country en route to Europe. African heads of state have in recent days condemned the treatment of migrants in Libya, including widespread violence and apparent slave trading. PHOTO | PIUS UTOMI EKPEI | AFP

The UN has urged Libya to agree to shut down 30 centres holding 15,000 migrants, whose detention has become a pressing issue after video footage showing African men sold in Libyan slave auctions sparked global outrage.

"Thank God, thank God, thank God," said one young man as he stood in an orderly line at the airport to be registered first by immigration officers and then by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

UNDOCUMENTED

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