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FG evacuates 7,000 migrants from Libya, sets up panel to resolve crisis

The federal government has said that it has evacuated 7,000 migrants, with additional 250 arriving Nigeria today.

Sadia Faruk, the Director-General of the National Refugee Commission, told newsmen after a meeting she and her counterparts in the National Emergency Management Agency and the NAPTIP held with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Faruq, who said 460 others were still being expected, stated that a committee had been constituted to come up with solutions to migration to Libya.

“A committee has been set up consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the NAPTIP, the Refugee Commission and the NEMA to come up with terms of reference as to how to go about solving the issue of Libyan migrants and also what happened in Italy.

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“I think so far, they have repatriated about 7,000 and daily, they are coming in. As I speak to you now, a plane is arriving with about 250 migrants. So, we are expecting more on daily basis. I think I was speaking with the Director General of NEMA and he said so far, about 4,600 are expected.”

NAPTIP Director-General Julie Okah Donli said the government had put measures in place to check immigration, explaining: “What government is doing actually is to carry out massive sensitization and awareness.

“Prevention mainly is the major thing to do. So, we plan to go to all communities in the 36 states including the FCT because when we prevent this from happening, we will not be talking of repatriating or evacuating. That is what we are planning to do.”

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Earlier during the meeting, Osinbajo stressed the need to sensitise young Nigerians on the danger in crossing the Mediterranean Sea after being brainwashed by those he tagged criminals.

He said he convened the meeting on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive with a view to reviewing the situation and tackling it.

According to a statement on Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the promise while addressing Nigerians in the Diaspora.

He also promised  to reduce the number of Nigerians heading for Europe illegally through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea by providing basic social amenities such as education, healthcare, and food security at home.

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In an interactive session with members of the Nigerian Community in Cote D’ Ivoire, on the sidelines of the 5th AU-EU Summit, Buhari said all necessary steps would be taken to stem the tide of illegal migration by Nigerians.

He, however, noted that it was very difficult to know the origin of the people who died, while attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, because of lack of documentation.

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