Friday, March 18, 2011

Nigeria closes Embassy in Libya

As the fighting between the pro-Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi troops in Libya intensifies, Nigeria has temporarily closed its embassy in Tripoli.

The nation's charge d'affaires in Libya, Mr. Harun Umar, confirmed this development yesterday in Abuja when the last batch of stranded Nigerians in Libya were received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said yesterday that it had evacuated a total of 4,000 Nigerians from Tripoli.

The agency said that it had concluded the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in the North African country.

This was made known by the director-general of NEMA, Muhammad Sani-Sidi. He said that additional four flights were made from Monday to Wednesday, bringing a total of 1,784 distressed Nigerians directly from Tripoli. So far, over 4000 Nigerians have been safely brought back to the country and transported to their respective states of origin.

While the last flight brought in only 194 passengers, including Nigeria's embassy officials and their families, the first flight in the last batch of the evacuation brought in 558 passengers, the second 496 and third, 536 persons.

The Nigerian charge d' affaires in Libya, Mr. Harun Umar, who accompanied the last batch said: "There are no more Nigerians at the Tripoli International Airport. The Nigerian mission in Libya has been temporarily closed as top officials of the mission including Sheik K. Lemu, Tijjani Otman and Mrs M. O. Abodunde have arrived."

Meanwhile, a special team comprising officials from NEMA, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Commission for Refugees, Nigeria Immigration Services, Civil Defence Corps and relevant security agencies have been set up to receive other passengers that would be brought to the country by the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) and the United Nations Agency for Refugees who would continue to evacuate stranded citizens through Libya's neighbouring countries like Egypt and Tunisia.

So far, the international bodies have brought to the country about 300 Nigerians through Lagos, Kano and Abuja International Airports.


Related stories: 499 Nigerians evacuated from Libya

Nigerians killed in Libyan Protests 

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