Nigeria marks International Day for ‘Migration
London, Dec. 18, 2018 (AltAfrica)-A march has been held in the capital of Nigeria’s southern state of Edo to mark this year’s International Day of Migrants.
Hundreds of supporters and activists held banners and placards as they walked through the streets of Benin City.
The annual celebration highlights the plight of migrants and their families and their contribution to societies around the world, as well as a call to protect their rights.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) chose ‘Migration with Dignity’ as this year’s theme.
State authorities and IOM are using the event to sensitise locals about migration as the city remains a hub for illegal migration to Europe.
I spoke to three returnees about their experience.
BBC Copyright: BBC
Chioma Onwordi, 20, is from from Delta state.
She spent a year in a prison in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, before returning home a year ago through an IOM repatriation scheme.
Chioma told me they would go for days without food and were often beaten by their captors.
She says that up to 200 women were kept in one room with three toilets.
Her plan was to go to Italy to be a hairdresser.
Despite her experience in Libya she’s ambivalent about being back.
She says that if she had made it to Italy her family would be in a better financial situation.
Abigail Lemoh, 22, was told by a trafficker that if she gave them $1,000 (£788) a visa to go to Germany would be organised for her.
When she got to Libya she was asked for $2,700 which she didn’t have.
She was sold for $800.
When she escaped she was was caught by traffickers who wanted a ransom from her.
Since coming back she hasn’t been given any training or support.
She’s currently homeless after she fell out with her sister. She’s now living with a friend.
She says there’s no money in Benin City.
Abel works for an organisation called Hope for Returnees.
He says he lost his twin sister on the way to Libya.
She died of thirst and starvation after walking in the Sahara for a week. She was buried in the desert.
He says since coming back he hasn’t been the same.
It’s like half of him is missing, he says.BBC