The federal government has returned 150 stranded Nigerians from Niamey, Niger Republic, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development, said this on Monday when welcoming the returnees at Kano’s Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.
The returnees, according to Ms. Umar-Farouq, arrived at the airport at 3:45 p.m. They were flown to Nigeria by SKY MALI Airlines, a company owned by Ethiopian airlines.
She claimed that a voluntary program was used to repatriate the returns to Nigeria.
The initiative was created to help unhappy Nigerians who had left their country in quest of better opportunities in Europe and Africa but were unable to pay to come back when their travels were unsuccessful, according to the minister.
There were 125 men, 14 women, and 11 kids among the returns.
The returnees come from several states in Nigeria, including Yobe, Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto, Katsina, and Kano, she continued.
The returnees, according to Ms. Umar-Farouq, would receive a three-day course on achieving self-sustainability as well as seed money to enable them to start profitable businesses and become self-sufficient.
No country, according to the minister, is better than their own country, so they should not risk their lives by traveling there in search of safer pastures.
“Our intended destination was Algeria, but the driver left us off at the Niger Republic en route. When we were without food and water, we truly suffered. My parents are old and destitute, and my husband fled away, leaving me with my kids for the past three years. As a result, I had no choice but to travel in search of better opportunities, said Amina Aliyu, a woman from Kano who traveled with her sister Zara’u Aliyu and three children. “I used to sell rice and beans before I left Nigeria.”
Aminu Suleiman, a Yobe native and another returnee, claimed he went to Libya in search of better pasture.
“Before I left Yobe, I worked as a tailor. I planned to create a fashion academy in Nigeria, thus I wanted to leave Libya for Europe in search of greener pastures. I came back with nothing, so my ambition of starting a fashion academy is over,” claimed Mr. Suleiman. I endured a lot of suffering, going without food and lodging, but I thank God I survived.”