‘20 Nigerian girls sold off’

A Nigerian returnee from Libya has spoken of how 20 Nigerian girls were sold off as slaves in Libya.

He also gave a chilling account of how he and others were fleeced and transported to Libya with a promise of better life in Europe, only to land in penury and end up in jail in the north African country.

Many of the returnees, who are camped in Benin-City, the Edo State capital, look skinny and exhausted. Some of the women are carrying babies, whose fathers are not known.

Alex Otoide is one of the 168 Nigerians evacuated from the north African country, and are currently being rehabilitated by Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The governor has promised to train them in skills required to reintegrate them back into the society.

Otoide said he witnessed the sale of 20 Nigeria girls in the prison where they were all kept.

“They sold about 20 girls in the night. I saw it. It was God that saved me.”

Recounting his ordeal, he said: “I left Nigeria with N500,000. I spent six months in Libya jail after the man that took my money ran away.

“We were 55 that travelled from here to Libya, 25 people died in the desert.

“More than seven people died from hunger and thirst inside the prison.

”Can’t you see how I look lean and hungry? I need to go for treatment.”

He said a fellow whose name he gave as Charles also a Nigerian, collected the N500,000 from him.

Apart from persuading them to travel, he also collected money in addition to running a transit camp in Libya for those travelling illegally across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Some of the deportees said Charles collected money for the purpose of taking them to Europe only to abandon them in Libya.

They claimed that Charles had several bank accounts with different names through which he collected money from victims.

He is also accused of running the Libyan camp where Nigerians are kept for days without food.

Another returnee Osas Blessing said Charles is among those nicknamed “burgers” or “connection man” on the Libya route.

He said: “I gave Charles N450,000 but when I got to Libya he increased it to N600,000. He is very wicked. He does not care for human life. He is a Benin man. He will say if you die you die. He pushed us into the sea at the wrong time.

“I heard he just left Nigeria with new passengers to Libya. He has frustrated many Nigerians.”

Another returnee who refused to give his name said another Nigerian known simply as “Biafra” was responsible for many atrocities committed against Nigerian migrants in Libya.

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