One of the lucky returnees who scaled through hell Libya has narrated his ordeal, saying the experience is part of his life lesson.
Ewere Joseph, 27-year-old, is one of the 650 deportees, who returned to Edo State, and according to his tale, he had paid the sum of N500,000 to secure his travel to Italy en route Mediterranean Sea, but unfortunately the story turn sour. Joseph almost died with diverse life-threatening situation he faced while in Libya. Throne in prison, beaten, suffered hunger and even shot; of which many victims did not survive.
The returnee said there are about 10,000 Nigerians in their prison.
Narrating how how his journey began from Nigeria, Joseph told Punch: “Before I left Nigeria, I was working in a tile making company but the money was too small. One day somebody ask me if I was interested in going to Europe, the man is still here in Benin, I said yes.
“His name is Christopher, he said I should go and bring N500, 000. I rallied round for the money and we set out. He promised that once I got to Libya, he will arrange for me to be taken to Italy. It sounded so convincing when he said it but, when we set out for the journey, I did not know it was going to be hell. I don’t need to go to hell any more, I have tasted hell already.
He further said: “I spent one year and six months in Libya. Many things happened there; they killed a lot of Nigerians. Many of our women are pregnant for those they cannot identify. My friend died in prison because they always beat us. They used the butt of a gun to hit break my leg.
“My aim was to go to Italy. When I got to Libya, my sponsor sold me to another Nigerian who was using me for manual labour and I had no choice. I made attempt twice to pass the sea but I ended up spending two days on top of water in the first attempt. The rescue team that came did not locate us, but God sent a fisherman to save my life.
“The second attempt I made to cross the sea was when I was now arrested and sent to prison. There is one prison there that the government of Nigeria should go and free Nigerians from, we have about 10,000 Nigerians there. The prison is called Giyuan. Eight people died in my presence in that prison.
“Some of the inmates had to break the prison and that was how we escaped and we were taken to deportation camp. And when we got to the deportation camp, they started beating us; we received the same treatment like when we were in prison. They will give you bread in the morning and that is all you will eat till the next morning.
“I do not regret the journey because it is part of my experience in life. But my advice to my brothers and sisters is that they should not embark on such trip. Even from Benin to Kano is very bad, from there we moved to Alghadez, Shaba to Libya.
“Libya is a very bad country; it is not a place to go. The first thing they did was to ask me to convert to Islam. I told them I will not, that I am a Christian. They beat me with guns and dump me in prison. I wish our government can block the road leading to Libya so that our people will not go there. I weep each time I see our girls suffering, being used as sex slaves and all sorts of abuse”