The Senate Wednesday asked the Federal Government to urgently investigate the number of Nigerians affected in the Libyan slavery auctions.
The upper chamber also urged the government to immediately commence the process of repatriation and rehabilitation of Nigerians caught up in the despicable treatment and human rights abuses in Libya.
The Senate which condemned in totality the current depravity and sheer animalism being exhibited by Libyans selling follow Africans as slaves resolved that the government should take all diplomatic steps to ensure that everyone involved in the inhuman act is held accountable to face the full weight of international law and justice.
It prayed President Muhammadu Buhari to leverage on the ongoing EU/AU session in Abidjan to seek special discussion on Illegal migration in Africa.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent need to protect Nigerian citizens from the Libyan slavery auctions” raised by Senator Baba Kaka Garbai (Borno Central).
Garbai in his lead debate noted with dismay the report of slave markets at various locations in Libya, where Africans and mostly Nigerians are auctioned as slaves, priced as merchandise and sold off like animals.
The Borno central lawmaker said that he was sickened to observe a video available on You Tube which had brought about a global outrage witnessed the sale of 12 Nigerians for prices as ridiculous as $400 to $800.
He noted with concern that the stone-age, inhuman and barbaric act is going on in the 21 century.
Garbai acknowledged the on-going global outcry against the crime, several protests in mostly European countries such as Paris and Brussels while “we who are the most affected as these are our children, our brothers and sisters, our youths, are indifferent.”
He recalled the report of a survivor who said that they were kept in unsanitary conditions, made to endure regular beatings, forced into labour in the fields with little or no food and some are killed in the process.
He quoted the survivor as saying “It was total hell in Libya. For the Arabs (Libyan jailers), black skinned men are nothing but animals-animals are treated better, People who want slaves come to buy us and if you resist, they shoot at you.”
He lamented that those affected are Nigerians “who are just trying to flee poverty and deprivation.”
The lawmakers observed that “just this year, no fewer than 10,000 Nigerians have died while trying to illegally migrate through the Mediterranean Sea and the desert. Just recently we mourned the death of some Nigerians among the 26 young girls who died in the Mediterranean Sea.”
He noted the report of Libyan officials that detention centers in the country are full and that they have only deported five percent of the 20,000 in the detention centers because of lack of response from the home governments of the migrants.
He expressed worry that the government does not have the means nor the commitment to crack down on the perpetrators as their hands are full.
The smuggling networks, he said, are killing, torturing, extorting and detaining migrants at will.
Garbai said that he is aware that some other African countries such as Ivory Coast, have taken steps to protect their people from the despicable acts by bringing back their people home.
The lawmaker who reiterated that the country’s constitution made the welfare and protection of citizens as the reason for government insisted that “we will be failing in our duty if we sit idle and watch any Nigerian being put into slavery.”
For him “every Nigerian life matter.”
All the senators who contributed to the debate agreed that urgent steps should be taken to address the situation in the interest of the image of the country.