The Federal Government is considering the possibility of evacuating Nigerians stranded in Libya, amidst reports of ongoing slave trade in the country.
In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government is working with the Nigerian mission in Libya.
Videos of a reported slave trade boom in Libya have surfaced on social media recently, drawing criticism from all over the world. Migrants, who try to pass through Libya to Europe, are reportedly kept in horrible conditions then sold.
The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja has been liaising closely with the Nigerian Mission in Tripoli, Libya on the video clip in circulation and reports by a section of the Media indicating that migrants, some of whom were reported to be Nigerians, were auctioned off in Libya last week.
In this regard, we have received a preliminary report from the Mission that the host Foreign Ministry has invited African group of diplomats to a meeting where the Libyan government condemned the widely circulated video and stressed in particular that the CNN video footage was an attempt to falsify and dent the image of their country. The diplomats were assured that the Libyan government would investigate the video and if found to be true, the perpetrators of such acts would be brought to justice.
It is apt to add that our Mission in Tripoli has constantly been addressing the problems associated with Nigerian migrants in Libya. There were instances when the Mission received appeals for intervention from some Nigerian families whose children and relations were victims of inhumane acts in that country.
The Mission has also addressed some cases of kidnapping of Nigerians for ransom by foreigners and cases of some Nigerians who kidnapped their fellow Nigerians for ransom in Libya were equally reported to the Mission for intervention.
The Mission has been visiting detention camps to identify Nigerians for registration and to issue Emergency Travelling Certificates (ETC) to them. The Mission had rescued many victims and repatriated some of them to Nigeria, sometimes in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) as well as some NGOs. Many cases affecting Nigerians have been reported to host Authorities for investigation.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government of Nigeria unequivocally condemns the act of auctioning migrants and will continue to investigate the Media reports under reference for appropriate action. The Government is also exploring the feasibility of sending aircrafts to evacuate Nigerians who are stranded in Libya.”