172 Nigerians deported from Libya have returned to the country under the voluntary returnee programme organised by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM.
Spokesperson for the Nigerian Immigration Service, Ekpedeme King, who confirmed the return of the deportees, said that the voluntary returnee programme done in conjunction with the European Union and the Italian government, supports stranded illegal migrants willing to go home to return to their countries.
Mr Ekpedeme said that the deported Nigerians are suspected to have stayed back in Libya for different periods not more than nine months, after failed attempts to enter Europe from Libya.
He said that more Nigerians are still camped at the immigration detention camp in Libya which also houses nationals of other countries who are yet to volunteer to return home.
The immigration spokesperson said forceful deportation is not yet an option as the International Organisation for Migration is still in dialogue with the illegal migrants to encourage more voluntary repatriation.