President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday raised the alarm about hundreds of stranded black Africans in Libya, whom he said were claiming to be Nigerians, thus, making the evacuation of genuine Nigerians tasking.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President stated this during a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the State House, Abuja.
Buhari added that it was important to authenticate the origin of the people in distress before being evacuated.
The Nigerian President told Mahamat: “We are trying to bring as many as possible from Libya, but not every Black man is a Nigerian. Others claim to be Nigerian, when they are not, and because they have destroyed their travel papers, we can’t claim them, except there is proper documentation.”
Thousands of Nigerians are being evacuated from the war-ravaged country, following reports of slavery of black Africans in the country.
Buhari also spoke on the recharging of Lake Chad, submitting that “the earlier we get it done, the better, so that our youths don’t continue to dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea.”
The AU Commission boss praised both Buhari and Nigeria for their roles in Africa and for his battle against corruption.
“Without President Buhari, and without Nigeria, many things would not have been possible. I appreciate the role you played in my election, and all that you do in ECOWAS, Lake Chad Basin Commission, and the entire continent.
“We follow your battle against corruption, and it is not by chance that you have been chosen by other African leaders to champion the battle in 2018. Your commitment is notable, and I seek your support for reforms that we intend to introduce in AU. Your guidance is vital. We need Africa to speak with one voice, and the voice of Nigeria is preponderant,” he said.
In a separate meeting yesterday with the President of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel A. de Souza, also at the State House, the President said it was cheery that the organisation was demanding accountability from its headquarters’ staff, which he said made it to recently invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Nigeria, to look into its books.
“Thanks for being firm, and for insisting on transparency and accountability at the ECOWAS headquarters,” President Buhari said, adding that Nigeria would continue to fulfill its obligations to the sub-regional body.”
On the hosting the 52nd Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government today in Abuja, Buhari said he expected a formal report on the situation in Guinea Bissau at the meeting.
“We need our troops back home, and I hope the President of that country will accept a constitutional way to resolve the situation there,” he added.
The ECOWAS Commission boss thanked Nigeria for agreeing to host the 52nd Ordinary Session at short notice, noting that the impact of Nigeria was quite strong in the organisation.
“We are under financial pressure due to terrorist attacks in the sub-region but Nigeria, being out of recession, will have an impact on the entire region,” de Souza said.
He also noted that Nigeria was the highest contributor of troops to Guinea Bissau, admitting that “the troops can’t be there endlessly.”