President blames Libya's instability for Boko Haram menace
The president said Nigerians returning from Libya are at risk of being indoctrinated.
While speaking to the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the president said that the violent removal of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011 led to the return of many Nigerians who were recruited by Boko Haram due to the nature of the work in Libya.
The president said his administration, in its bid to properly secure the country, is doing its best to rehabilitate Nigerians who are coming back from Libya and making sure they're not indoctrinated.
The president spoke on the topic while he was responding to the outrage against the discovery of slave markets in the north African country where Africans, including Nigerians, are being "sold like goats for a few dollars."
The president said, "In the interview some of you saw, some of the Nigerians said they were being sold like goats for few dollars for years in Libya.
"Now after 43 years of Gaddafi where he recruited so many people from the Sahel including Nigeria and so on, all they learnt was how to shoot and kill.
"They didn't learn to become electricians, plumbers or any other trade. So, when the Libyans stood against their leader those who are not their people, they chased them out.
"A lot of them came back home with their workers, some of them participated in Boko Haram and become part of Boko Haram.
"So, I'm telling you that our major problem as we have identified is still the security of the country. We have done much better everybody is saying it.
"We are doing our best and the leadership at all levels are doing their best and the problem we are having with those who are being indoctrinated and are hurting our people, blowing up people in mosques, churches, marketplaces, motor parks, this is absolute madness.
"No religion advocates violence, all religion advocate justice from your home, town, household to whatever you become, Justice is the basic thing all religion demand it as you can't go wrong if you do it.
"Whenever Nigerians are identified especially in Libya and so on, we hope to evacuate them back home and then rehabilitate them because the indoctrination is what is happening with the Boko Haram where girls will strap themselves mostly from the ages of 15 downwards and go to the market blow themselves up and anybody around in motor parks, mosques, churches and so on."
On Tuesday evening, 242 deportees returned to Nigeria from Libya after a CNN investigation uncovered a dehumanising slave trade where Africans sell for as much as N145,000 ($400).
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, described the slave auction footage as "the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity."
It has also been condemned by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig, Guinean President and African Union (AU) Chairman, Alpha Conde, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, and the Senegalese government.
Burkina Faso also recalled its ambassador to Libya with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore demanding information from the Libyan government about the fate of some 30 Burkinabe migrants detained in the camps.
President Buhari's Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the slave auction in a press statement on Monday, November 20.
She described it as "totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhumane and should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through their veins."
How the modern slave trade works in Libya
Libya has been a hotbed for illegal migrants for years now as it serves as the transit hub to the Mediterranean which connects to Europe. Every year, migrants embark on the perilous journey across the sea to escape the economic and/or political uncertainties in their countries of origin.
According to Missing Migrants, an organization that tracks deaths along migratory routes, at least 2,985 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa or the Middle East in 2017 alone.
However, this has not stopped people from trying to make the journey into Europe to seek greener pastures.
A government crackdown on trafficking has resulted in a drastic reduction in boat journeys which means many are trapped in Libya for a long time waiting for their turn to travel. The migrants are mostly held in connecting houses or detention centres that the smugglers control.
This creates a situation where smugglers are able to exploit the migrants, especially as soon as they run out of money to pay which means they're viewed as properties.
Since most smuggling rings are run by local organised gangs, militias and corrupt security officials in Libya, many victims are trapped in unfamiliar surroundings with captors who are not shy to resort to violent means.
Smugglers are known to blackmail migrants into doing free labour or outrightly selling them to other militias involved in human trafficking. Other times, they hold migrants for ransom and call their families to pay while issuing threats to kill them.
Female migrants are in more danger of being used as sex slaves especially if they don't have anything to pay their captors.
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