Free At Last

This is a first hand account of an illegal Nigerian migrant who tried to travel to Europe by land and sea.

His long walk to freedom started with a journey from Tripoli to Lagos. They all looked the same as they alighted from the plane. 

They had this thing about them; it must have been in their eyes. They looked cold and savagery.  

He looked like he had hugged death and walked away. 

He gazed up to the sky, shook his head and wondered how he got himself into this mess.

Harrison Okotie left Nigeria with two eyes but returned with one. He left on a bus from Kano state to Niger Republic but returned on a chartered flight free of charge.

Okotie was pleased to be home. For the first time in his life, he was grateful to walk on Nigerian soil as a free man.

"I experienced life in Libya. Really, it was really bad. First of all, let me thank the Nigerian government for their support.

"The IOM, the UN and the other ministries that are still making them deport us. They are saving us from the hands of those wicked... those... I do not know how to classify them.


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The Horrors

"We really went through hell there. Even there are some people there now which they are supposed have been deported. 

"Some of them there have spent a year plus. Some of then have spent 8 months in different places where they have locked them.

"Some others have spent 4 months, 6 months. Some of them have done their TC, some of them have not done their TC, they are still there.

He looked enraged and sad when he began to tell tales of their mental state and the challenges they face which he described as inhumane.

"Some of them are running mental there. They are going insane. Like this lady here, some of them are not well, they are sick. 

"Look at me. Look at what I am passing through. It was an Arabo, lone Arab man that used a gun to hit my eyes. 

"For those Arab people ehn... we just pray to God to save we Nigerians. I have spent 2 years plus there.

Okotie, who hails from Delta state, goes on to give a very detailed account of the horrors in Libya.

"See me (takes of his shirt). See my body for christ sake. See I have not had my bathe in 2 months. If some other people here take of their clothes you will see how they fixed pipe in their private parts just to piss".

"Those Arabs have finished us. Is it bullet wound? Is it the gun shot? Even when we are going to eat, they beat us. We were just like slaves. This one is more than slavery.

Okotie who is aged 35 says he was married until he left Nigeria. He also speaks on his living condition which forced him to keep his hair as dreadlocks.

"My hair is not naturally like this o. I had to start keeping dreds and looking like a mad man. I went to Delta state university. I studied business administration. I am a graduate o", he added.

He called on the UN and the international community to force Libyan authorities to let Nigerians and other nationalities return home.

"They have locked some in Caravan, some in underground, some in secret places. They must force them to let our people go".

He kept shivering each time he spoke to TV360Nigeria.

He wondered where he would start from in a country where he could not get a job with two eyes not to talk of now that he left with one.