Airport shooting delayed Nigerians’ evacuation from Libya — NEMA

February 4, 2018

The National Emergency Management Agency has attributed the delay in evacuating the fourth batch of stranded Nigerians in Libya to the activities of militant groups in the North African country.

NEMA explained that though three batches had been evacuated from Libya since the exercise began, the evacuation of the fourth batch was delayed as a result of shootout among militant groups at the airport in Tripoli, the capital of the North African country.

The Federal Government has been airlifting in batches some Nigerians who are trapped in Libya.

Speaking with journalists at the Port Harcourt International Airport on Friday, the South-South Coordinator of NEMA, Mr. Ejike Martins, said 465 stranded Nigerians were airlifted from Libya to Nigeria as the fourth batch of returnees.

“We understand there was problem at the Tripoli Airport among militia groups and there was a shootout and this affected flight movement from that airport.

“The closure of the airport as a result of the activities of the militia groups delayed the return. But the airport has been reopened,” said the NEMA coordinator who is also the Head of Operations for the exercise.

He pointed out that while the returnees were not camped in one place in the North African country, they were always negotiated out of wherever they had been kept.

He said, “As usual, this is in continuation of the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Libya. We have 465 returnees, who are going immediately for profiling. An exercise of this nature is said to have hitches.

“These returnees are not camped in one place there. They are negotiated out of where they are held. So the Federal Government gathers them from one place to another.

“The Federal Government is making frantic effort to ensure the evacuation is carried out as planned. It requires process and we are following it.”

The 465 persons arrived at the Port Harcourt International Airport on board MaxAir plane at about 12.30am before they were taking to the reception centre for profiling and medical examination.