258 Nigerians have returned home from Libya on Thursday night with the help of the United Nations migration agency International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
This is the biggest voluntary repatriation of Nigerians from Libya after the return of 253 migrants in April.
233 males, 25 females including five children disembarked from the chartered Libyan airline Airbus A333-200 with registration number 5A LAT at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
Julie Okah-Donli, the director-general of National Agency for the Protection of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said they were looking out for trafficked people during the profiling of the returnees.
In early April, IOM documented reports of slave markets and kidnapping rings on migrant routes in Libya run by traffickers to buy and sell West African migrants.
The reports indicated that with the support of Ghanaians and Nigerians who work for traffickers, “sub-Saharan migrants were being sold and bought by Libyans”.
All the surviving migrants spoken to by IOM gave similar accounts.
The north African country has become a transit zone for thousands of migrants who are keen to escape poverty and war to Europe.
Migrant numbers from Libya to Italy have soared dramatically in 2017 with more than 550 deaths recorded in the Mediterranean this year.