147 stranded Nigerians have safely touched down the country from Niamey, Niger Republic.
The returnees, arrived at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) in Kano State, on Wednesday, consisting of 77 male adults, 16 male children, 23 female adults and 21 female children from different states including Kano, Lagos, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna.
A statement according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has it that the returnees were brought back through a voluntary repatriation programme under the care of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The programme was meant for distressed Nigerians who had left the country in search of greener pastures but could not afford to return when their journey became frustrating.
The Coordinator of NEMA Kano Territorial Office, Nuradeen Abdullahi, noted that the returnees would undergo a three-day training on how to achieve self-sustainability and would be provided with seed capital to enable them to engage in productive ventures and become self-reliant.
Abdullahi also advised Nigerian youths to avoid endangering their lives by travelling to seek greener pastures in other countries.
He said, “It is better to invest in oneself and seek opportunities within the country. If they must travel abroad, they should do so legally and through the right channels to avoid falling prey to human traffickers and other forms of exploitation”.
Meanwhile, the returnees expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and the IOM for their safe return.
“We are grateful to the federal government and the IOM for bringing us back home,” one of the returnees, Mrs Ngozi Ogbu, said. “We went through a lot of hardships and were almost hopeless, but we thank God for this opportunity to start afresh.”