Following their return from Libya after being sold into slavery, some returnees have shared their experiences on the treacherous journey.
Harrisson Okotie who returned yesterday said, “I experienced life in Libya, really, it was really bad. I want to thank the Nigerian Government, and the UN for their support and other organisations that are making them to deport us from the hands of those wicked Libyans. I don’t even know how to describe them or what to classify them with.
We really went through hell there. There are some people there now that should have been deported; some of them have spent eight months in Gharyan.
“Some of them have died, some of them are getting mad, some are not well, some are sick. Like me now, look at my eyes, look at what I am passing through. It was an ‘Arabo’, an Arab man that used gun to hit my eyes.
I’ve spent two years plus, but for me staying there now is close to seven months. It was because of the sweat that all my body is white. We have not taken our bath since two months. Even to brush. If some people should open their body for you, they fixed pipe inside their private part. Tell some people to open their body for you, you will see that these people have finished us. Is it bullet wound, is it gunshot? Even when we are going to eat, they beat us, we are going inside, they will beat us. We are just like slaves. This one is more than slave, I don’t know what to classify it as.”
Okotie says he is a 35 years old and a graduate of Delta State Polytechnic. He showed off his body which was unkempt, and his hair which is now dreadlocked.
A similar story was what Ikechukwu who also just returned from Libya related. “People out there are suffering. They need help, more help. Sometimes, when they call us to eat, we eat five five. Five means one spoon for five people, and that is for the whole day. So when UN now discovered that they are giving us five five, UN now called them and began to drag with them. So they now began to give us two times a day.”
For Ekene Igwe, the physical horrors he faced are still giving him nightmares. “They shoot at us, they are flog us. If we want to eat, they will flog us. If we want to use the toilet they will flog us. Anything we want to do they will flog us.
“They call themselves soldiers, but they are buffalo soldiers, criminals. They just gave them uniforms. All of them are wearing uniforms, we do not know the real ones, all of them are wicked people.”
Women too were not spared the horrors of Libya. Ada Chijioke who was also with the recently returned group says in pidgin. “Like me now as I be woman, since two months wey they don arrest me, na only five days I don baff. Because if you too baff your body go dey scratch you and as you dey scratch am e go dey peel, because na salt water, na im we take dey baff. Food, e no dey o. People wey dey there now, maybe by this time dem never chop night food. That night food, na since around one. If dem wan come share am now, dem go shout “five five zip”. If you no quick siddon, if you see pipe wey dem use, both woman and man.”
Phillip says he has only eaten one type of food for months. “They bust our camp October 11. Since that time, we have been eating one food, macaroni. In Libya, they call this Oza bread. This bread, if Arabo want to suffer us, they will cut it into two for each person. This half Oza is the food we will eat from morning till night, till the next day. Since October 11, we have been eating macaroni. Not even rice. They treat us like animals.”