Human Rights

10,000 Nigerians have died in Mediterranean Sea, deserts so far– Senate

The Senate have revealed that no fewer than 10,000 Nigerians have died while trying to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and the deserts.

The revelation is coming just as the Red Chamber condemned the latest report being aired on CNN of slave markets at various locations across Libya where Africans and mostly Nigerians are auctioned as slaves, priced as merchandise and sold off like animals.

Consequently, the Senate has urged the federal government to urgently commence the process of repatriation and rehabilitation of Nigerian citizens caught in the despicable treatment and human right abuses.

The Senate also urged the federal government to, as matter of urgency, take all diplomatic steps to ensure that everyone involved in the heinous act is held accountable to face the wrath of international law and justice.

The resolution of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai (Borno Central) on the urgent need to protect Nigerian citizens from the Libya slavery auctions.

Leading the debate, Garbai noted that the maltreatment of Nigerians in Libya is a humiliation, not just to the country and the entire Africa, but also to fundamental principles of Human Rights under the United Nations Charter.

According to him, the illegal migrants are Nigerians trying to flee from poverty and deprivation in the country and called for the need to boost the economy.

He further noted that there is claim by Libyan officials that its detention centres are full and have only deported 5% of the illegal migrants due to lack of response from the home government.

While stating that Libya does not have the means to crack down on perpetrators simply because their hands are full,

Garbai insisted that the Nigerian government will be failing in its responsibility to provide welfare and protect the citizens as enshrined in the constitution.

The Senate, therefore, urged the federal government to investigate how many Nigerian citizens are affected and detained or being put into slavery.

Also worried by the plight of Nigerians sold to slavery in Libya, the House of Representatives has urged the federal government to liaise with the government of Libya to find a solution to the menace of migration and modern-day slavery in Libya.

The decision followed the adoption of a motion on the need to investigate the inhuman and barbaric acts of slave trade involving the auctioning of black Africans in Libya sponsored by Hon. Saheed Akinade-Fijabi yesterday.

Leading the debate, Fijabi who recalled that slave trade was abolished over 200 years ago lamented over recent reports on black migrants who make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara desert to Europe, get caught and sold to slavery in Libya.

The lawmaker stressed the need for the Nigerian government to realize that the economic condition of the country is responsible for the migration of Nigerian, youths hence the need for it to take charge.

In her contribution, Hon. Omosede Igbinedion while decrying the development said, “It is quite saddening to see how Nigerians end up and if we don’t say or do anything, it only also goes to show our insensitivity”.

Similarly, Hon. Rita Orji maintained that the economic condition of the country was responsible for Nigerians seeking greener pastures in Europe, adding that the slavery in Libya calls for parliamentary intervention.

In the same vain, House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, noted that the problem is also a domestic one, saying that some Nigerians are responsible for selling others, while others go into it voluntarily.

In adopting the motion, the House also resolved to mandate its committee on Human Rights and that of Foreign Affairs to interface with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant stakeholders to identify the factors that encourage the migrants to embark on the perilous journey.

They are also to proffer solutions that would discourage migration and provide for how the Nigerian youths caught in the web would return to the country and report back in four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

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