Nigerian migrants expressed relief as they arrived home on Tuesday from Libya, describing the "hell" of harsh conditions in detention camps where they had been held.
The 144 returnees who touched down late Tuesday, and another planeload expected to land shortly after, are part of a repatriation programme that Nigeria has stepped up in recent months. "I'll start a new life in my country", he said as he waited to be given food.
"Thank God, thank God, thank God", said one young man as he stood in an orderly line at the airport to be registered first by immigration officers and then by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Following the 2011 uprising that toppled former Gaddafi's regime, Libya has become a preferred point of departure for illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores, due to the insecurity and chaos in the country.
Foreign Affairs Deputy Permanent Secretary Ebrima Jobe who spoke to JollofNews revealed that 40 detention centers have already been identified in Libya."The Kingdom of Morocco, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany will provide the air carriers", he said.
The ministry stated that those registered were issued Emergency Travel Certificates.
"Deputy prime minister, Ahmad M'etig, stressed the need for a specialized global center in Libya and North Africa to deal with illegal immigration, given its significance in dealing with this phenomenon, from which Libya is suffering", the communication and media office of the deputy prime minister said in a statement.