The Federal Government on Sunday evacuated 215 stranded Nigerian fishermen from the Republic of Gabon back home.
Spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Yushau Shuaib, disclosed in a statement in Abuja on Monday that the evacuation was necessitated after the Gabonese authorities issued an eviction notice to Nigerian fishermen living in Nende, Mouka and Kenza Islands to move away even though majority of them had lived there for several decades doing their legitimate businesses.
The distressed returnees who are mostly from Bayelsa State and a few from Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Imo and Abia states were flown to the Port Harcourt International Airport before their onward journey to their respective home states.
The fishermen had signified their willingness to be reunited with their families after the eviction notice.
Before the execution of the evacuation process, the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies had undertaken an on-the-spot-assessment of the situation before a chartered aircraft was deployed for the evacuation.
In an effort to ensure full rehabilitation of the distressed Nigerians and to protect their belongings, Shuaid stated that NEMA would also ship their outboard engines, fishing nets and other working tools to Nigeria.
The respective state governments have been communicated on the development.
By Laide Akinboade