Nigeria to bring back distressed citizens from abroad

Cote d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara (R) meets with Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari upon his arrival at the Felix Houphouet- Boigny International Airport in Abidjan on November 28, 2017 ahead of the African Union - European Union summit. PHOTO | AFP 

Nigeria has resolved to bring home and rehabilitate all all its citizens who are stranded in troubled Libya and other parts of the world.

Speaking in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire where he is attending the EU-Africa summit, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also vowed to reduce the number of Nigerians heading for Europe illegally, by providing basic social amenities at home.

He was reacting to the allegations of enslavement of Nigerians in Libya as well as the death of 26 Nigerian migrant women in Italy.

Perilous journey

President Buhari said steps would be taken to stem the tide of illegal migration by Nigerians.

Commenting for the first time on the death of the 26 young Nigerian women, he said: "It is very difficult to know the origin of the people who died while attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, because of lack of documentation.’’

“When it was announced that 26 Nigerians died recently in the Mediterranean, before they proved that they were all Nigerians, they buried them.

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“But the evidence I have from the Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, (Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa) is that only three of them were identified as Nigerians. But I’ll not be surprised if the majority of them were Nigerians,’’ he said.

President Buhari said it was appalling that “some Nigerians were being sold like goats for a few dollars in Libya’’.

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

His vision

He said there was ‘‘good news from home’’ in the areas of security, economy and anti-corruption.

“We are not doing too badly in trying to secure the country, improve the economy and deal with corruption,’’ he said.

On food security, the President said his vision of repositioning Nigeria as a food-secure nation was on course as the country was on the verge of attaining food security.

He attributed the development to positive agricultural reform programmes and bumper harvest occasioned by good weather.

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