Libya Returnees Narrate Tales of Woes - My FrontPager

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Libya Returnees Narrate Tales of Woes

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Stories abound about the danger inherent in taking the Libya route to Europe. As the stories goes, it is a life altering undertaking mostly breaks the undertakers. 

Yet, the stories by returnees of this journey is worse than many envisage. Returning to Nigeria, many breathe a sigh of relief and others are thankful they are amongst the lucky one - who managed to get back in one piece - or alive. 

Many, mostly from Edo and Delta States take the journey, hoping for a change in fortune, for pastures greener than the nutrient lacking ones they left behind, but get there only to discover they've been lied to and the desert is as unforgiving as a dead soil. 

Statistics quotes that over 5000 Nigerians have been repatriated from Libya since the beginning of the year, and most have stories to tell. Stories that touch. 

Harrison Okotie, a recent returnee, told Punch he lost one of his eyes when one of his kidnappers hit him in the eye with the butt of his gun. He now fears his children wont recognise him again, having spent three years in Libya. He paid N600,000 for the journey that left him with just one eyes. 

Chibuzor, 20, left with the help of his father, who advised and even paid for him to embark on the journey. But having spent 18 months wandering the sea side hoping for a ride across to europe, being kidnapped and tortured, he is just happy to be back home. 

He said: "After many of my co-travellers died in the desert, I was kidnapped as soon as I got to Libya. I was in Prison for four months until my father sent N300,000 for my release. In the prison our food was a piece of bread every day. When I got out of the prison, I was on the street one day when I met a Nigerian who promised to help me. I worked in his house for some weeks until he sold me to a gang. They kept me in a cell. I was there for a very long time. I cannot count the number of people who died in the cell." 

Chibuzo's father had sold his land to raise an initial N450,000 which was given to the trafficker who facilitated the journey. 

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