As more Nigerians are being repatriated from the Libyan slave camps, many of them have continued to narrate the harrowing experiences they went through.
More sad tales of woes have continued to be revealed by Nigerians who are being repatriated from Libya where they were sold into slavery in their bid to cross the Meditarean Sea into Europe.
Some of the returnees who were flown back into the country a few days ago spoke to the Punch on what they went through on their journey with some saying they had to drink their urine and fuel to survive in the desert and the slave camps.
One of such returnees is Delta State-born Clement Chibuzor whose desperation to travel out of the country for greener pastures saw him undertake the hazardous journey to the point of no return where he lost all dignity.
The 20-year-old Chibuzor who came back with about 149 other Nigerians, looked emaciated and ghoulish, narrated how many Nigerians were auctioned, sold off, tortured, raped and murdered by the Libyans.
And to make matters worse, Chibuzor said those who sold them as slaves are fellow Nigerians.
'Nigerians sold other Nigerians as slaves'
Chibuzor said he was just a teenager working as a Plaster of Paris [POP] artisan when his father met a trafficker who told him he could get his son to Europe.
The young chap who is now full of regrets, said he had worked as an artisan for eight months and was content with the little money he was making when his father sold the idea of travelling abroad to him and practically forced him to embark on the dangerous journey.
“I never thought about going to Europe. My father was the one who brought the idea. He sold his land and raised N450,000 which he gave to my ‘burger’ [trafficker]. He did not tell my mother until I was already in Libya,” Chibuzor began.
He added that he spent 18 gruelling months in Libya after the leaving the country with great hopes of better things.
“After many of my co-travellers died in the desert, I was kidnapped as soon as I got to Libya. I was in prison for four months until my father sent N300,000 for my release.
In the prison, our food was a piece of bread every day. When I got out of the prison, I was on the street one day when I met a Nigerian who promised to help me.
I worked in his house for some weeks until he sold me to a gang. They kept me in a cell. I was there for a very long time. I cannot count the number of people who died in the cell.
The police were raiding different places where black people were kept and I willingly surrendered to the police. That was how I got an opportunity to come back to Nigeria.
While working on the streets of Libya, if the gangs saw you, they would grab you and put you in a cell. They put you in a cell with many others where you would either be sold or made to call your people to pay for your freedom.
While I was trying to get money the to free myself from the prison, I spoke with my father two months ago. He then told me that if I had the chance, I should return home.
I told him that I might die before I had the opportunity to return home because I saw people die every day.”
'We drank our urine, fuel in desert'
Another returnee, Kelvin Sunday, a 21-year-old man, was full of praises to God for bringing him back though he had lost all hopes.
Sunday who vowed never to embark on such a fruitless journey again, said he and many other Nigerians drank their own urine and fuel to survive.
The Edo State indigene said he was a slave in Libya for seven months before his miraculous return after spending N965,000 to get to Libya.
Sunday explained that a friend of his who had made it to Europe convinced him to embark on the journey.
According to him, 41 of them set out in Kano for the journey through the desert but only 10 made it to Libya, adding that their fate was sealed when their vehicle developed an engine fault in the desert.
“We were in the desert for three days without food or water. We were drinking our urine to survive. It got to a point that when there was no more urine to drink, we started to drink fuel.
When we got to Libya, I was working in my 'burger’s' house. I spent two weeks there before I went to the seaside in Tripoli where we would cross.
From Sabha to the seaside in Tripoli, I spent two weeks. On the way, some traffickers kidnapped us. They beat and loaded us into their Hilux van, but few of us jumped down and I broke my leg. I managed to escape as they were shooting.
We spent two days in the desert again after that escape. We later saw a motorist whom we begged to help us get to the seaside.
We were camped at the seaside for three months without any opportunity to cross through the seas. People trying to cross the sea told me to avoid Nigerians helping Libyans to sell people. But later, our camp was raided by soldiers, who took us to prison.”
Sunday said he spent four months in prison before the IOM officials effected his repatriation along with many others back to Nigeria.
'I left Nigeria with high hopes but returned as a one-eyed man'
The tales of woe continue for 35-year-old Harrison Okotie who left Nigeria with high hopes of greener pastures but came back with one eye after he was kidnapped by some violent traffickers who hit him in the eye with the butt of a gun.
He said he lost his left eye in the attack, wondering if his wife and children will recognize the man who left with a promise of bringing the good life to them.
“Now, I don’t know if my wife and two children would ever recognise me when I get back home. I left Nigeria a whole man but I am returning with one eye,” Okotie said.
Okotie, also an indigene of Edo State, said before leaving Nigeria in 2014, he worked as a painter after graduating from the Delta State University.
After he was sold on the idea of travelling to Europe, he managed to raise N600,000 for the journey through the desert.
But when he got to Libya, he was kidnapped on the streets by some traffickers who sold him for 2,000 dinars [about N529,000].
"When you got to the person you were sold to, he sold you again for double the previous amount.
Many Nigerians have gone mad and cannot even say where they are in Libya right now. The day officials came to register us for repatriation, we were in a queue when one of the Libyan officials shot a Nigerian dead right there. They said he was trying to run, whereas he was desperate to return home.”
'They raped our women every day'
A female returnee, Esosa Osas, 25, did not fare any better as she was made to undergo a harrowing experience in the hands of the Libyan traffickers and officials.
Osas who said she was a hair dresser before leaving Nigeria, narrated how many Nigerian ladies were raped and tortured to death whenever they refused.
“It is either rape or death. They would rape you whether you liked it or not. Nobody could refuse being raped because the next option is to kill you.
I was raped and tortured several times,” she said.
'The 'burgers' lied to us'
Another returnee from Edo State, Odion Saliu, said the traffickers would lie to the victims and painted the journey as an easy pie without telling them the dangers they would face.
“The woman who facilitated the journey lied to us. She said that once we got to Kano, we were going to take a plane to Libya. I was shocked when we were loaded into a vehicle.
We spent nine days crossing the desert to Libya. I was kidnapped and sold at least three times before God brought me back to my fatherland. I am really thankful to God that I am alive.”
With these revelations and the harrowing experiences Nigerians go through while trying to cross to Europe by all means, it remains to be seen what the government will do to discourage desperate Nigerian youths from embarking on these dangerous ventures.
Watch videos on how Nigerians are sold as slaves in Libya here:
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