By Omotilewa Quadri
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has disclosed that the Federal Government is working with its Libyan counterpart to negotiate the release of all Nigerians in Libya’s slave camps.
The minister who revealed this on Tuesday in Abuja said negotiations were ongoing with some of the militia groups controlling some camps who were demanding money to allow access to their camps.
“We have been given some amount that we have to pay to those rebels before we can get our people out; it has not been easy.
“There is an instance that it has to be negotiated down to $2,500 per camp to get Nigerians out. There is another camp that we have to negotiate around that figure also,’’ he said.
Onyeama said he had a meeting with the outgoing Libyan Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Attai Alkhoder, who promised his country’s cooperation to ensure the release of Nigerians in the slave camps.
He said the Federal Government was working relentlessly to ensure that all Nigerians in Libya slave camps were repatriated safely to the country.
“I met with the Libyan ambassador who promised to cooperate on the issue of migrants; I let him know that we appreciate what Libya is doing.
“We agreed on the way forward, that the Libya government will continue to help us to access those camps where there are still Nigerians outside the control of the Libyan government,” Onyeama said.
He, however, said that not all Nigerians in Libya were irregular migrants, adding that there were some who were living legally in Libya.
“There are Nigerians who are actually in Libya legally and working at legitimate jobs. Some of them have been useful in helping us to look for Nigerians in the country,” Onyeama said.
The minister said that Nigeria would want to work towards ensuring that peace returned to Libya by ensuring that that country has a central government and police central authority.
“When a central authority is in control that is when it will be easier to relate with Libya and address some of the problems they are having with regards to irregular migrants,’’ he said.
He added that the outgoing Libyan ambassador also stressed the need for improved bilateral relations between both countries.
Copyright 2017 Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.