The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Wednesday received 146 stranded Nigerians from Niamey, Niger Republic.
Dr Nuraddeen Abdullahi, NEMA Co-coordinator, Kano Territorial Office, stated this while receiving the returnees at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the returnees arrived at the airport at about 10:35am on board B737-400 SKY MALI Airline plane with registration number UR-CQX.
Abdullahi said the returnees were brought back through a voluntary repatriation programme, under the care of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
He said that the programme was meant for distressed persons who left the country in search of greener pastures in various European countries but could not afford to return.
“The returnees comprised 56 male adults, 39 female adults and 51 children (35 female and 16 male) from different states of Nigeria, particularly Katsina, Kano, Adamawa, Lagos, Imo, Enugu, Edo, among others.
“The returnees would undergo training for three days on how to achieve self-sustainability and would be provided with seed capital to enable them to become self-reliant,” he said.
Abdullahi advised Nigerian youths to avoid embarking on a dangerous journey abroad in search of greener pastures that may be available at home.
There is no country better than Nigeria as there are ample opportunities for all of us to thrive and live happily.
“If they must travel abroad, they should do so legally and through the right channels to avoid falling prey to human traffickers and other forms of exploitation,” he said.
Recounting his ordeal, a returnee, Mr Emeka Njoku from Imo, said he travelled to Tunisia four months ago to seek greener pastures.
“I have been a graduate for the past eight years. I have been looking for a job; no job and I don’t have the capital to start a business, and I have a family to cater for.
“On reaching Tunisia, I really suffered. I will never advise anyone to think of travelling out of the country to seek greener pastures this way.
Nigeria is a sweet country because you have the freedom to move about,” he said.
Njoku called on the government at all levels to empower youths by providing job opportunities across the country.
The returnee expressed gratitude to IOM and the Federal Government for their safe return. (NAN)