A Nigerian returnee from Libya, Alex Otoide has revealed that 25 compatriots, ferried from Nigeria to Libya by a trafficker identified as Charles, perished in the Sahara Desert, in the course of the journey.
Otoide said 7 members of the group also died inside a Libyan jail. “We were 55 that travelled from here to Libya, 25 people died in the desert. More than 7 people died from hunger and thirst inside the prison”, Otoide said.
Otoide spoke with journalists in a government camp in Benin City. He said the human trafficking agent, Charles collected the N500, 000 from him with a promise of a better life in Europe.
He, however, regretted that instead of Europe, he ended up in a Libyan jail. He said:
“They sold about 20 girls in the night. I saw it. It was God that saved me. I left Nigeria with N500,000. I spent six months in Libya jail after the man that took my money ran away.”
The Nation reports that many of the returnees look skinny and exhausted while some of the women among them came back to the country with babies, whose fathers are not known.
Charles, the returnees said, is running a transit camp in Libya for those who wanted to travel illegally across the Mediterranean to Europe. He regularly made trips back to Nigeria where he persuaded desperate young men and women that he can help them to get to Europe from Libya for a fee of about N500, 000.
But according to the deportees, after collecting the money, Charles usually abandoned them in Libya. The human trafficking kingpin reportedly operated several bank accounts with different names in Nigeria.
They alleged Charles kept Nigerians for days without food in his camp in Libya. Many of the migrants don’t even make it to Libya as they died of exhaustion in the Sahara desert, according to the migrants.
Another returnee. Osas Blessing, said:
“Charles is very wicked. He does not care for human life. He is a Benin man. 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.”