The Akwa Ibom State government on Thursday promised to cater for the welfare of the eight returnees from Libya into the state. The deputy governor, Moses Ekpo, gave the promise when he received the returnees who were rescued from Libya by the Federal Government.
The returnees, who arrived the country through Port Harcourt International Airport on Monday, wore forlorn faces. They said they were very happy to return to their state of origin after months of incarceration in Libya.
Ekpo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, deputy governor’s office, Nkopuruk Ekaiko, commended the Federal Government for coming to the rescue of the returnees. The deputy governor charged them to learn from the lessons of their travel and reintegrate themselves into the society, advising that there is no place like home.
He said: “I believe you have learnt your lessons through your travel to seek greener pastures where they do not exist. Thank God for your safety, we have received you back into the state. Government will take charge and cater for your welfare. Be of good conduct to benefit from state government’s welfare package.”
One of the returnees, Victoria Sampson, told the News Agency of Nigeria that she travelled to Libya in 2016 when she lost her husband. Sampson, a mother of three children, said after the death of her husband, a woman took her to Libya on condition that she would work to offset the transport expenses incurred on her.
She said: “I worked for 10 months in Libya and paid the madam her N600,000. Unfortunately, when I started to work for myself, I was arrested and thrown into prison where I was living on a meal of Macaroni once daily. I was arrested and put in an underground prison for nine months. The Libyans tortured us every day while in prison. One of us from this state by the name Eno died in prison as a result of the torture.”
Another returnee, Isonguyoh Patrick, a 2012 Banking and Finance graduate from one of the Nigerian universities, said he travelled to seek for a job in Europe. He said he was trapped in Libya and imprisoned for four months.
Patrick said: “After my graduation from the university in 2012, I tried to look for job in the country, but it was not forthcoming. My friend facilitated my travelling to Europe in search of the greener pastures, but I could not get to Europe before I was arrested and thrown into prison for four months. Travelling to Europe by land is the worst venture anyone can undertake.”
Patrick appealed to governments to make policies and programmes that would create jobs for the teeming youths to discourage illegal traveling. The eight returnees were made up of five males and three females.