No fewer than 41 Nigerians deported from the United Kingdom (UK) arrived the cargo terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Wednesday, at about 7.45am filled with misery.
The deportees comprised 33 males and eight females, were flown into Nigeria from London, via Accra, through a private aircraft chartered by the UK government. On arrival, the deported Nigerians were received by officials from the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Police, Air Force, and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Proper profiling of the deportees were first done by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Services to ascertain their identities as Nigerians before they were subsequently granted freedom to enter the country.
NEMA’s Deputy Director for Search and Rescue, Dr Abdullahi Onimode, who briefed aviation correspondents after the profiling of the deportees, explained that the 41 deportees were found to have breached various UK immigration laws. For instance, some had entered the UK illegally, while some still had with them expired tourism, visit or students visas. Onimode said the Federal Government had mandated NEMA to be on ground to provide travel allowances and other logistics support that would aid them return to their respective states of origin.
Most of the deportees looked exhausted and depressed, but none agreed to speak to the media.
Daily Sun learnt that about 53 Nigerians deported from the UK were originally scheduled to arrive the country on Wednesday, but not all of them could be brought in at once as the charter aircraft also had to carry Ghanaian deportees.
“This batch of deportees are mainly those that flouted immigration laws in the UK, and they were deported along some Ghanaians. There are other Nigerians who are serving prison terms that should have come with them, but couldn’t,” an official at the Lagos airport told Daily Sun.
“Both the UK and Nigerian government have been working closely since October 2016 to see how to repatriate about 90 illegal Nigerians and those serving prison terms in the UK back to Nigeria,” said the official who declined to be name.
On December 21, 2016, 140 Nigerians were deported from Libya.
The deportees arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport aboard a Libyan Airline and were received by the Director-General NEMA, Sani Sidi, who was represented by the South-West Coordinator of the agency, Dr. Onimode Bamidele.