headlines report on the statistics of migrants who sentence themselves
to death in search of better economic opportunities in Europe, the
personal and distressing narratives of those who make these journeys
often remain untold.
Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), a Lagos based church, has
found itself continuously coming to the aid of deportees, who, after
making these regrettable journeys, visit the church in need of financial
and psychological support.
Sunday 16th October 2016, a group of Nigerian deportees from Libya
revealed appalling details of inhumane circumstances they encountered on
their journeys to enter Europe through North Africa and across the
Stephen, a 23-year-old from Edo State, Nigeria, tearfully spoke on
behalf of the group of 52 at The SCOAN during a live broadcast on Emmanuel TV.
She recollected horrific details of torture, abuse and starvation which
included – drinking water from a well with a corpse inside, nearly
suffocating while hiding in a truck covered with watermelons as
camouflage and witnessing teenage girls raped at gunpoint by their
to be alive, her attempt to reach Italy was almost fatal when the
over-filled rubber dinghy she had boarded ran out of fuel. “There were
no life-jackets and none of us could swim,” she said, adding that
children and babies were among the 140 crammed onboard.
rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, she was imprisoned for three months
before being repatriated to Nigeria through the intervention of the
International Organization for Migration (IOM), who subsequently
provided a vehicle to bring the deportees to The SCOAN in recognition of
the church’s humanitarian efforts.
narrative was one of many disturbing stories recounted, including a
lady whose two children had to drink her urine to survive. While the
congregants and viewers of Emmanuel TV were shocked to hear such
horrific accounts, T.B. Joshua warned those who were on the verge of
making similar journeys. “It is where God wants you to make it that you will make it, not where you want to make it or where you admire,” he counselled.
support of the downtrodden deportees, T.B. Joshua presented gifts
amounting to N10,000,000 (US$33,000), each of the group receiving
N150,000 (US$500) alongside two bags of rice to “start their lives