Breaking: Police, Libyan evacuees clash in Port Harcourt

Police and Nigerian evacuees from Libya clashed on Monday morning at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

A returnee, who declined to be named, told Metrostarng on the phone that policemen barricaded their camp and seized their belongings after they rejected food served them as breakfast and threatened to leave.

He said the food being served them was of poor quality despite huge allocations by the Federal Government to the National Emergency Managemwnt Agency.

He alleged that the police prevented them from leaving the camp.

The returnee said they were told that they could only be handed over to officials from their states.

He stated that so far, officials from the governments of Edo, Delta and Lagos states had evacuated their citizens while many others had yet to make contact.

In exclusive videos obtained by Metrostarng, the protesters are seen chanting songs in Yoruba and pidgin and demanding their evacuation.

NEMA spokesman, Manzo Ezekiel debunked allegations of poor feeding of the returnees.

He noted that the same food is served to security agents and other officials at the camp.

He told Metrostarng on the phone that there are 20 evacuees still remaining at the camp and that their state governments are being contacted to come and pick them and arrange their rehabilitation.

“What I’m saying is that this set of returnees that we have in Port Harcourt, that is the fourth batch that we brought in. We brought in 466 persons.

“Under the arrangement, the various states governments are supposed to come and carry them. They are supposed to come and pick them and rehabilitate them. Unfortunately, when these people are brought in and we contact the states, most of the states are reluctant. That is the problem.

“We don’t have a shelter where we can keep them and reintegrate them back to their roots from where they travelled to Libya. As I talk to you, we have a little over 20 persons in the camp that have not been taken home. The highest state is Osun. Osun had nine, we have one from Katsina and one each from some states.

“We are trying our best but it’s the poor response from the states that’s causing the delay and the problem for us.

“As I speak to you, we’re expecting another batch of 150 evacuees (from Libya). Medview Airlines has gone to bring them. They will arrive at night,” Ezekiel stated.

Asked what would happen to the stranded evacuees if thejr states don’t turn up, he responded: “Well, we have been trying our best to call the states. Dje to our pressure, we have been able to get some states that came to pick their people. But they are just generally reluctant. We are not going to relent.”

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