Slave Trade: FG Summons Nigeria’s Envoy In Tripoli

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epa04161673 Some of the migrants, who were arrested after an attempt to reach Europe, wait before being transferred to police facilities in Tripoli, Libya, 10 April 2014. Naval coastguard said they had captured some 46 African migrants at sea after disembarking from the port of Tripoli. EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI

By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja

The federal government has summoned Nigeria’s  Charge D’ Affairs in Tripoli over the Libya slave trade scandal.

Recall that last week It was  reported that hundreds of people are being auctioned in modern day slave markets in Libya for as little as $400.

Libya is the main transit hub for refugees and migrants attempting to reach southern Europe by sea. They are coming from countries like Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Senegal, Sudan and Somalia.

Speaking to State House Correspondents yesterday after the Federal executive council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the Charge ‘D’ Affaires will brief the ministry on the true situation of things on ground.

He explained “On the issue of Libya, of course, it has been in the news in the last two weeks on trading in slaves; also, the imprisonment in various detention centres of Nigerians in Libya. What we have  done is that first of all, we have got our Charge D’ Affairs in Tripoli to come to Abuja to give us the full details of what is actually going on there.

“How many Nigerians are in detention and are trying to come home? So, once we establish that and we are given all those facts, we are now meeting with various agencies like NEMA and NAPTIP to now arrange the evacuation process and this will be done in co-ordination with international organisation for migration (IOM) and see if we can very quickly repatriate all our Nigerian nationals who are there who want to return home.

“ The charge d’ affairs said a number of Nigerians (and not all of them) do not want to come home. Certainly, it has to be those who want to come back home.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday night in Abidjan declared that all Nigerians stranded in Libya and other parts of the world will be brought home and rehabilitated.

The President while speaking when he addressed Nigerians in the Diaspora, vowed 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.

Reacting to a recent footage on the sale of Africans in Libya, President Buhari said it was appalling that “some Nigerians (in the footage) where being sold like goats for few dollars in Libya.’

‘‘After 43 years of Gadhafi, why are they recruiting so many people from the Sahel including Nigerians?  All they learned was how to shoot and kill. They didn’t learn to be electricians, plumbers or any other trade,’’ he said.