December 30, 2017 – Nigerian Man Who Met & Impregnates Wife In Libya Detention Camp Narrates How He Fell In Love With Her
An illegal Nigerian migrant in Libya, who himself had to battle freedom has narrated how he fell in love with a lady who was about to be sold in an illegal migrant camp. Love made him desperate to save the young lady to whom he later professed love and eventually married, PAUL UKPABIO reports
THE search for a bride is never an easy task for a young man. More often than not, young men find their brides in circumstances they least expect. That was the case with Stephen Emiator, a young Nigerian who got fed up with life at home and therefore decided to seek better life abroad. Because of his desperation for greener pastures abroad, he fell into the hands of illegal human traffickers who promised him heaven on earth once he left his home country. Little did he know that all the promise of a standard job in Europe with all the goodies of life would expire as soon as he boarded a crowded truck from Kano to Niger Republic.
And that was just the beginning of the story. Now properly in the Sahara Desert, Stephen was illegally trafficked along with others with an initial stop over at Musrata in Libya. “Here, we lodged among several other Nigerians and other Africans in similar plight in a detention camp,” Emiator recalled. They were awaiting slave buyers in a growing illegal human trade ring with a network across North Africa, and with major popularity in Libya.
From one camp to another, Stephen and others were forcibly moved on the tortuous journey. There was Amilu camp in Saprata, where they made another stop over, then Olu camp in Saba, Kule camp in Tripoli, Sala camp, Arrabia camp in Mentron, Agbo man camp in Brack, Madam evening camp in Saprata, and so on.
Then finally, the Kararim Detention camp, where life again changed for him. But that is the beginning of another story. As it is generally said in some parts of Africa, when a man is about to be blessed, he finds his lost rib. And that was exactly what happened to Stephen. Little did he know that all the suffering he had been through during the entire illegal journey to the foreign land would end in him discovering love and finding a wife. But how did that happen? “It was a hot, sunny afternoon,” said Stephen.
“I had stayed in Libya for about three years. It was on my third year, after I had been through several of the camps, that I gained the confidence of the camp owners.” Luckily for Stephen, he had picked the local language and had started speaking it. That endeared him to them.
He said: “I had worked for so many of them in different places for a long time.
I became trusted by the Arabs because I was arrested by Sala, who was their master. When I was still in his prison, he had some Nigerians working for him. But those Nigerians who worked for him later left to cross over to Italy. “So when I was bailed, he called and asked me if I could work for him. I accepted to work for him. He tested me with so many things but I didn’t fall for any. He then trusted and introduced me to so many of his gangs. I was working for many of them.
That is how I became trusted by so many of them. We go out together, drank together just like that. “So I was at the camp on this particular day and some girls arrived from Nigeria through the desert to Kalabush Camp, just like I did some time back.
That was when I saw my wife to be (Ella) at the camp. I caught her eyes looking at me. She saw a phone with me and asked if I could help her with my phone; so I gave her my phone. “But after the call, she was crying; so I asked her what was wrong, though I already knew, because as a new arrival, you could bail yourself if you had money. But as it usually happens, they don’t normally have the cash to do so. And the money ranges from N500,000 to N1.5 million. “In the absence of that payment, they were taken off to work as prostitutes to redeem the money for their owner, that is, those who trafficked them there in the first place. “So, here she was, no money.
I don’t exactly know what happened to me, but I just knew there and then that I had to buy the young lady’s freedom. I went to the Arab owners of the camp and spoke the language to them. The leader was my friend. It was a great risk because they trusted me. “He told me that he hoped I was not trying to be funny. I told him no; that I could not act funny to him. That the lady was my wife and that I was the one that told her to come. After a while, he finally agreed, though he was surprised that I had to send for my wife to come there, knowing how dangerous the place is. I paid and bailed her out and took her to where I was staying. Even at that point, I didn’t realise that I had a wife in my hands (laughs).” But was Ella in love with him? “Yes, she was already.” But how did Emiator know she was? “I realised she was through some of the things she did and said to me. You know, we were living together.” Soon, the love blossomed and Mabel became pregnant. “When she became pregnant, I just knew that I had to marry her.
So I asked her to marry me and she agreed.” Ella’s baby arrived just in the middle of this year and afterwards, things started happening. Tales of the inhuman treatment being meted to Nigerians in Libya were circulating everywhere. Emiator shared some of them tale with us:
“When you are lured into the desert out of Nigeria, indirectly, the contact who took you out of the country had indirectly sold you to other contacts that received you. From there, you are expected to pay your way at each point for your freedom, and the points are many. “Where you have no cash to pay, you are kidnapped and asked to call your relations in your country.
If no money is forthcoming from that point, you are sold into sex slavery or hard work for the men until you have made enough money to secure your freedom. “But again, as soon as you secure your freedom, there is a possibility of you being re-kidnapped.
On and on like that, till you eventually get to the Mediterranean Sea where you cross to Europe. That is if you eventually get to that point. Many never do!” But luckily for Stephen, his wife Ella and young son David, the police arrived and they were rescued.
He said: “Some of us actually tried several times to return to Nigeria but there was no way. For some who were free to move around, we tried connecting with the mission office but the camps are way away from contacts. “One day, I returned from work and my Modi (landlord), called me and said Akuman (police) would be coming to that area to search some houses. I said to search for what? He didn’t give any reply. So I left and told my wife to be ready, that the police would be there. When we were rescued, we agreed together to return to Nigeria.
Stephen, Ella and his son David, was among a batch of illegal migrants that were rescued recently from Libya and deported back to Nigeria. As luck would have it, upon arrival, some government agencies and non-governmental organisations were on hand to receive them.
[By Paul Ukpabio, The Nation]