From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja
Following the pool of reactions trailing the alleged slave market in Libya, the Libyan government has finally opened up, saying that there is a campaign of calumny against its government.
The Charge d’Affaires/Ambassador-Designate of Libya to Nigeria, Dr Attia Alkhoder, who spoke with some select government-owned media in Abuja, said the press conference was coming “at a time of fierce media and political campaigns against Libya, claiming that there is human trade market in its territory.”
The Libyan envoy said “the claim followed media assumption carried out by the Cable News Network (CNN) channel of America and political comments follow it.” Recall that there were media reports last week about Nigerians being sold off in Libya at a paltry sum of $400.
The development generated public outcry, with the Charly Boy-led group, OurMumuDonDo, occupying the Libyan Embassy located within the Asokoro district of Abuja on Thursday.
But Alkhoder said “It seems barraging in relation to smuggling them to their destination (Europe) as immigrants not as slaves. The barraging is about the cost of transporting them to Europe, not capture their freedom in order to savage them.”
He however said the Government of National Accord of Libya renewed its condemnation of the criminal practice of trading and trafficking of human beings on all levels, be it a national, regional or international.
“We would like to confirm that any deed that happens to immigrants right is not more than individual action and not the practice of Libyan people. We condemn and reject in totality, the criminal practice of trading and trafficking of human beings on the basis that any relation with immigrants should be conceded with human dignity.
“The Government of National Accord wonders at the fierce and blind campaigns that were carried by the international media and participation of some political officials of friendly countries who should be aware of the immigrants’ situation, and the exceptional condition.
“In Libya, what worries us deeply is the objectives of this campaign which was carried by countries that reject accepting immigrants and do not assist to bear any cost of this phenomena which Libya is most harmed by. It constitutes danger to its security, social constructions and loads on its initial weak economy.
“Libya renews its call to put an end to exploitation, suffering of the ambitious African man looking for better life in Europe and human trafficking, right from the country of source, route and target country.
“Libya calls to initiate international campaign to put an end to these phenomena by providing security, border control to end Libyan crisis, unify its government institutions and end the transition system that contribute a lot in the weakening control of territory, hence allow for smugglers to be more active on their illegal activities,” Alkhoder said.
The Libyan envoy also said the Libyan authority had immediately instructed the relevant agencies to carry out a comprehensive investigation on the criminal claim according to the Libyan law and reveal its findings to local and international community, apprehend and punish persons responsible for it, be it human trafficking of immigrants or human trading.
“Libya considers such matter, if accurate, is a result of illegal immigration. Libya is harmed by it, she rejects being held responsible.
Solving the issue of illegal immigrants is a collective responsibility to the countries of origin, transit and destination. Moreover, Libya spends a lot of money to construct and manage camps to accommodate the immigrants and facilitate their voluntary return to their countries.
“Libya emphasises that the phenomenon of illegal immigration and its outcomes needs serious coordination of international efforts to stop it. Therefore, the need for practical and effective measures between the countries of origin, transit and destination, also, international and regional organization concerned,” Alkhoder added.
The Libyan government further said supporting the Libyan authority with technical and logistical needs in order to control its southern border since Libya is the major route for immigration across the Mediterranean Sea was necessary.
It urged the European Union and the international community to cooperate with the countries of origin to establish developing permanent projects to stop the phenomenon and its outcome as contained in Tripoli declaration of November 22-23, 2006, on immigration and development.
The envoy also said assisting Libya to meet the cost for the immigrant camps and support the construction and empowering of security outfits is also necessary. (The Sun)