Deported Nigerians cry out: We have been in London for so long, we cant trace our families

  • 41 deported Nigerians from the UK arrived Lagos on Wednesday, February 1
  • Some of the deportees have said they can't trace their families 
  • An official of NEMA said they were expecting 83 people not 41

UK deportees arriving at the airport
UK deportees arriving at the airport

41 Nigerians were deported from the United Kingdom (UK) and arrived in Lagos on Wednesday, February 1 2017. 

They were brought home in a chartered Airbus 330 aircraft that landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at about 8am. 

The National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) said that they were deported for alleged immigration offences. 

NEMA however said it had informed that about 83 deportees were being expected, and that some of them who had not completed their prison sentences would be handed over to the Nigeria Prison Service to complete the terms. 

According to Vanguard, however, only 43 people arrived, including eight females and 33 males, mostly Yoruba, Edo and Igbo.

The deportees were received by Dr Bandele Onimode, Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, who served as a representative to the NEMA Director General. 

The deportees were served breakfast and later interrogated to determine their states of origin so that they could be assisted to locate their relatives.

One of the deportees, a 37-year-old, Yoruba man said he left Nigeria about 17 years ago and had lost touch with home. 

 According to him, he put resources together to travel to the UK but could not raise the money to process stay papers. 

He then began to engage in illegal activities until he was caught. In a similar vein, an Igbo eportee, said his parents were Lagos-based before he left for greener pastures, said he might not be able to trace the parents because he learnt they had relocated back home. 

An aged woman among the deported said she left Nigeria some decades back, and she had lost touch with her relatives, including her children. 

According to investigation, many of the deportees had used fake names in their documentation as they were ashamed to reveal their identities.

Those who could locate their Nigerian addresses were give assistance to return home while those who could not were taken to rehabilitation centers. 

Ibrahim Farinloye, NEMA's information officer, said the agency was yet to ascertain why the number of the deportees was 41 instead of 83. 

Also, he said the deportees were not prisoners. 

“They told us that 83 were coming but on arrival it was 41. This is humanitarian evacuation and many things could have happened at the last minute that may lead to increment or decrease in the number of the people. 

We work on information made available to us,” said Farinloye Asked why the deportees’ names were not released, he said, “The Nigeria Immigration Service did the profiling and the names are not made public because of their security and social protection," Farinloye said.

Meanwhile, no less than 792 illegal immigrants were deported from Nigeria in 2016, according to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Cross River state. About 65 viticms of human trafficking were also rescued.

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