LIBYA SLAVERY: How Beneficiary Of Okowa’s YAGEP Squandered N2 Million, Absconds To Libya

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……As Returnees Narrate Their Ordeals

Chuks Odiase, was among the first beneficiaries of the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa’s Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP), but sold starter packs in livestock given him for about N2 million and absconded to Libya through the deserts in search of greener pasture and ended up been deported.

Mr. Odiase, who was among the Delta state returnees sold into slavery in Libya and received by the state government in Asaba, capital city of Delta state narrated his ordeals.

“I travelled to Libya to achieve things that I lost before, so along the line, things didn’t go the way I planned it but thank God today I am alive, I came back alive because a lot of things happened and many people died in the sea, in the desert. Then the Arab people used gun to kill our people, in fact, they just took us as animals the blacks”.

He revealed that a lot of Nigerians are still in the prisons, disclosing that the Nigerian Ambassador to Libya, was not allowed to see Nigerians who were in their custody, “Whenever the Nigerian ambassador comes, the Arab man will corner them because UN gives them money and they don’t want to empty the prisons”.

Asked what he was into before going on the life adventure, he said, “I was into livestock. Agriculture is very good, there is profit in it”, but could not respond to question on why he dumped it for Libya. “well, it is God. I travelled to Libya last year, in Libya, you don’t have freedom. I spent over N700, 000 on the journey”.

Other returnees who spoke said they saw hell in Libya as they were sold into slavery while some of the females were carnally molested by the Libyans.

Abraham Okafor, an Indigene of Umunede, from the governor’s council, Ika North East narrated that “I left for Libya last year, I spent about a year in Libya. My free time in Libya was just a month and I spent the rest 12 months in six different prisons”.

Mr. Okafor, an SSCE holder, said, they escaped several times before he was finally repatriated after over 200 Nigerians died of starvation, gun shots among other horrors, “The Arab men shot them and some died in the sea. They will come into the camp and start shooting sporadically. We would have came back before now. Our so-called Ambassador, sometimes when he comes, he will not come to see us because he has his own passengers.

“When I was in that airport, he has his own passengers and he kept them outside. So, we being the prisoners that UN and ION asked to deport, he will keep us at one side. After much when our TC is out, he will use the TC to deport them because they have already paid him money. Then we will be in the airport and they will still take us back to the prison again”.

He disclosed that he went to Libya for greener pasture to enable him put food on his table, saying that he left Kano to Niger Republic before arriving at Agades to Libya.

Another returnee, Chukwuma Enimukwu, from Igbodu, Ika North East council, said it took them two week to travel from Nigeria to Libya, “I entered Libya, May 3rd before I went to the waterside, I was staying with travelling agent, there were killing everywhere, sometimes these men will just come with guns and start shooting at us for no reason. Some of my friends died there also.

“On October 11 when UN asked Libya to close border that was when they took us into prison. I even went there with one of my uncles, till today I have not seen him. He is nowhere to be found, I only got the news that over 50 people died near the waterside, I don’t know if he was among”, adding that they were moved from one prison location to another.

A female returnee who holds National Diploma (ND) in Mass Communication, Delta State Polytechnic, Oghara, who narrated her ordeal said they were severally abused.

Our correspondent observed that most of the returnees were from governor Okowa’s local government.

Addressing the returnees earlier, governor Ifeanyi Okowa represented by the Commissioner for Bureau for Special Duties, Ernest Ogwizzy, said the data of the returnees would be taken to enable government enlist them into the various programmes of the government through their local government councils.

“They can as well come to my office which is the Bureau for Special Duties and give me their names and I will forward same to government so that they can be automatically enrolled into the YAGEP and STEP programmes which is intended to make provision on how people who are not employed to be gainfully trained and be self-employed.

“Because the government is doing everything to create jobs for the youths and I think when more jobs are create, there will not be need for any of them to think of travelling out of the state or the country”. the governor stated.

The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on International Matters Dr Genevieve Mordi, said in previous times, all returnees were handled by the European Union (EU) “but these particular returnees are by the Federal Government. The government sent a high powered delegation that was led by the Minister of External Affairs, Hon. Onyenma”.

She said it was last Saturday that NATIP contacted her, “they came back around 1:00am on Saturday and told us that the federal government is going to bring back a total of 5035 returnees, they are coming in batches and they are going to come within three weeks and this is only the beginning”.

The SSA disclosed that the state government took care of their feeding while in the camps, provided transport and housed them at Chad-Ef Hotel, Asaba, “The governor is ready to absolve them in batches, they are going to be well taken care of. Their names and local government has already been taken, they are going to fill the Job Creation form and they are going to start rehabilitating them in batches”.

Speaking in an interview, the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Kingsley Emu, lamented that Mr. Odiase, was his former community leader whom the state government invested over N2 million on, “I gave him money from my pocket to ensure that he is established”, he regretted.

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