The National Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday received 109 stranded Nigerians repatriated from Mali at the International Wing of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Director General of NEMA, Air Vice Marshal Muhammed Muhammadu (retd), who received the returnees, said they would be isolated for 14 days in Ikeja before they would be free to reunite with their families.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the returnees, who were received at 3:15am, comprise 11 adult male, 89 adult female, with four male and five female children.
Muhammadu said the returnees were assisted back into the country by the International Organization of Migration.
He enjoined the returnees to be careful with those that promise greener pastures outside the country.
The NEMA boss admonished them to always be wary of close family friends and relatives that lure and expose them to unnecessary hazards that are life-threatening.
He urged them to make better use of their lives as they returned to the country, assuring them of government’s readiness to provide equal opportunities to everyone.
According to him, the Federal Government has several social development programmes and other incentives meant for empowering the youth in the country.
One of the returnees, 21-year-old Irhobosa Orhumnzie, said she left Nigeria about six months ago with the hope of going to Dubai.
Orhumnzie said: “My madam (her trafficker) took about 25 of us and told us that she would take us to Dubai.
“We took off from Lagos and crossed over to Cotonou in Togo and from there we went straight to Mali.
“But as we entered Bamako, Mali, the Malian Police arrested our madam and all of us.
“They asked us if we are interested to go back to Nigeria.
“All of us volunteered to return to our country.
“We don’t know what is happening with our madam.
“They asked us if we are interested in dealing with our madam, we just told them that they should do whatever they want to do with her, but we just wish to go back to Nigeria.”
The returnee said from the police station, they were taken to the Nigerian Embassy, but the Coronavirus pandemic did not allow the embassy to bring them until IOM came to the rescue.
She said they stayed in the embassy for some time.
Orhumnzie added: “It was the IOM that facilitated our return to the country.
“We are also grateful to the Malian Police, the embassy staff for helping us come back to Nigeria safely.”