The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Friday received another batch of 266 stranded Nigerians from Niger Republic.
The Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed-Habib, made the disclosure while receiving the returnees at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
Represented by NEMA Coordinator, Kano Territorial Office, Nuradeen Abdullahi, the DG said the returnees arrived and were received at the international wing of the airport.
“The 130 returnees arrived late on Thursday night while 136 arrived on Friday at about 3:50 a.m. with SKY MALI Airlines, operated by Ethiopian airlines FML5001 with registration number VR-CQX,” Mr Ahmed-Habib said.
He noted that the returnees were brought back to Kano under the care of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) from Niger Republic (Niamey) through a voluntary repatriation programme.
“The Programme was meant for the distressed Nigerians who had left the country to seek greener pastures in various European countries and could not afford to return when their journey became frustrated,” he said.
The returnees comprised 144 males, 56 females and 66 children.
“The returnees are from different parts of the country; some from Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto and Kano States, among others,” he said.
He further explained that the returnees would undergo a four-day training on how to achieve self sustainability and be provided with seed capital to enable them to engage in productive activities to be self-reliant.
“We want you to serve as ambassadors, who would be sensitising other Nigerians against irregular migration.”
He advised the public to avoid endangering their lives by travelling to seek greener pastures in other countries, adding that no country was better than Nigeria.
According to him, the agency, from April to December 13, received 723 stranded Nigerians repatriated from Agadas, Niger Republic, Khartoum Sudan, Chad and were trained in various skills acquisition.
He enjoined them to learn from their experiences and be law abiding citizens.
Recounting their ordeals, Hajiya Salamatu Muhammad, from Kano State, said she travelled to Niger with her 6-year-old granddaughter to seek for greener pastures.
“Initially I intended to travel to Algeria but on our way, the driver dropped us in a town called Asamaka in Niger Republic.
“My husband is old and his shop has been seized so I had no option than to travel to seek for greener pastures. Before I left Nigeria, I was into making Fura (millet dough ball).
“We spent six months in Asamaka; we surffered, in the process my granddaughter fell sick, as a result, she could not eat and was given medical drip to survive,” she said.
Usman Kabir, another returnee from Zaria, said he sold his plot of land to travel to Libya to seek for greener pastures.
“I was a phone repairer before I left Zaria, I saw one of my friends sending money to his parents from Libya, that was why I decided to seek for greener pastures.
“My parents are poor and I am the first born so I decided to travel, to enable me to cater for my parents and siblings, but unfortunately I was stranded in the Sahara.
“My dream of becoming rich has ended, I feel shy to go back to my family because I came back with nothing,” Mr Kabir added.
The returnees were received by NEMA, along with sister security agencies including SEMA, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs and Nigeria Red Cross and SSS.