President Muhammadu Buhari has said that all Nigerians stranded in Libya and other parts of the world will be brought back home and rehabilitated.
According to a statement on Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made thepledge while addressing Nigerians in the Diaspora on Tuesday night in Abidjan.
Buhari also vowed to reduce the number of Nigerians heading for Europe illegally through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea by providing basic social amenities such as education, health care, and food security at home.
In an interactive session with members of the Nigerian Community in Cote D’ Ivoire, on the margins of the 5th AU-EU Summit, President Buhari said all necessary steps will be taken to stem the tide of illegal migration by Nigerians.
The President, however, noted that it was 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.
“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.
“For people to cross the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean through shanty boats… we will try and keep them at home. But anybody who died in the desert and Mediterranean without documents to prove that he is a Nigerian, there is absolutely nothing we can do,’’ he said.
Reacting to a recent footage on the sale of Africans in Libya, Buhari said it was appalling that “some Nigerians (in the footage) where being sold like goats for few dollars in Libya.’’
‘‘After 43 years of Gadhafi, why are they recruiting so many people from the Sahel, including Nigerians? All they learned was how to shoot and kill. They didn’t learn to be electricians, plumbers or any other trade,’’ he said.
The President advised Nigerians in Cote D’Ivoire to be good ambassadors in their host country, warning that the Nigerian embassy in Libya will not hesitate to repatriate those who tarnish the image of the country abroad.