From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Succour is on the way for Nigerians who are currently undergoing dehumanising experiences in Libya amidst reports of some being sold into slavery as the federal government have given the nod to two indigenous carriers to evacuate and return its citizens from the crisis ravaged north African country.
The appointed airlines, Med-View Airline and Kano based MaxAir will collaborate with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to airlift an estimated 5,037 Nigerians said to be facing social challenges of various degrees there.
The exercise is coming following an agreement the trio signed at the NEMA headquarters in Abuja at the weekend.
Med-View’s Executive Director, Business Development and Commercial, Mr. Isiaq Na’Allah said “This kind of responsibility is meant for Nigerian carriers, because it is our responsibility and we have the capacity to carry out this operation. We have demonstrated the capacity that we can do it and we are honoured to have been appointed by the Federal Government through NEMA”,
He reiterated that “It is a known fact that Med-View Airline has been in operations for the past 10 years. We do Hajj operations and we do it successfully and the record is there for everybody to see, that is a factor I think the government considered before we are assigned this national project. We will deliver professionally up to international standard and the government is not making any mistake for entrusting Nigerian carrier to this kind of project.”
President Muhammadu Buhari recently constituted a 17-man fact finding committee to facilitate the evacuation with Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama as head.
Other members include Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede; NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja; Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa; National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Director-General, Julie Okah-Donli; National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq amongst others.
A Reception Centre has also been put up in Port Harcourt by NEMA from where it will work with the governors of the returnees’ states as the affected persons after profiling, identification and documentation, will be handed over to their state governors.