Help or Mock: Libya returnees reject Obaseki’s N1,000 transport fare


…As Germany pledges active support for conflict mitigation in Nigeria***

The need to help and not to mock came to fore on Wednesday, as some Libya returnees in Benin rejected Obaseki’s N1,000 transport fares given them by the Edo State Government, to take them to their hometowns.

The returnees had on Tuesday protested the non-payment of stipend as transport fare to their homes within the state, a development which reportedly resulted in the payment of the N1,000 each, which some of them considered totally unreasonable.

The returnees said they had expected something reasonable without stating the amount.

One of the returnees, Gabriel Edokpaigbe who said it would be a shame for him to go back to his father’s house after he sold all his belongings to travel to Europe, pathetically noted that the N1,000 would not take him to his destination.

Christian Otoide, who claimed to be based in Lagos State, said he was still wearing the prison uniforms given to him in Libya because he had no other clothes.
Otoide said that returnees were promised many things in Libya hence he agreed to return home, adding that he was genuinely disappointed.

“How will N1,000 take me to Lagos? We were working in Libya but Libya police said our government said our country is now good. That was why I returned,” he said.
The returnees claimed that announcement by the Federal Government that Nigerians should return home made Libya policemen to arrest those living comfortably in the country.

Many said they lost their money to the forceful arrest and deportation.

Efosa Clifford, 43, said he spent over N1.3 million on his failed trip to Europe.
“If there was good liberty in Libya, life is good there, it is just that blacks have no free movement in Libya.”

Meanwhile, relatives of some of the returnees have stormed the premises of the Benin Motel Plaza where the returnees are lodged to find their lost ones.

Those looking for their relatives peeped through the fence to look for their loved ones.

A woman who gave her name as Boss said she was looking for her brother named Aminu, adding that she last heard from him in September 2016.

Another man said he had visited the hotel each time he heard Nigerians had returned from Libya to search for his daughter but to no avail.

In the meantime, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Bernhard Schlagheck has pledged to actively support the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR),in a bid to strengthen peace building and other intervention platforms required to mitigate conflicts in Nigeria.

The IPCR Media Officer, Michael Abu highlighted this on Wednesday, saying that Schlagheck made the pledge in Abuja, when he visited the Director-General of the IPCR, Prof. Oshita  O.  Oshita.

Schlagheck while expressing concern over the spread of dysfunctional conflicts in the country, also indicated his willingness to support all conflict management activities, especially as they relate to the 2019 general elections.

Oshita in his remarks said that the Institute in collaboration with the German Embassy would embark on series of intervention towards peaceful 2019 elections.

He said that IPCR was open to creditable organizations and entities for collaboration for peace building activities including various interventions for conflict resolution.

The DG said that the institute in collaboration with the Embassy  would train journalists on peace journalism in the monitoring and coverage of elections.

“IPCR will train of a number of media practitioners from all the geopolitical zones of the country on peace journalism and conflict-sensitive reporting,” he said

The DG said that the intervention would also include election conflict management for Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and others handling various aspects of the election processes.

He added that the Institute established the National Peace Academy  to build capacities in the country and  Africa to support the Infrastructure for Peace and to encourage the spread of peace ambassadors and practitioners.

He said that the Institute was already putting up election conflict management programme, countrywide peace campaigns and sensitisation programmes to ensure peace during the 2019 general elections.

Oshita expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Chairman and members of a Governing Council for the Institute for the first time, noting that the institute could actually leverage on their clouts to properly mobilize and advance proactively, in pursuit of its mandate for peace promotion and conflict resolution in Nigeria.