A JOURNEY OF NO RETURN!
What you are about to read is real-life accounts of Nigerian deportees who just arrived from the nation of Libya and rushed to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations, in search of refuge and rescue. Please SHARE this post with your friends, colleagues and family – there are VALUABLE lessons to learn!
No words can adequately describe the suffering passed through by Tracy Stephen. What started as a promise of greener pastures abroad ended in a seven-month nightmare! The young hairdresser was told by a friend in Italy that multiple opportunities were available for her to prosper in Europe, if only she was ready to undertake the “two-week journey” there. Her mother gave instant approval, borrowing money to the tune of N280,000 to finance her fledgling journey. However, things soon started taking a downward spiral when Tracy reached the Niger border on route to Libya. Packed like a sardine into a small van, a vehicle that was supposed to contain just seven people became the hiding place of over 40. The horrors of that three-day journey through the desert is difficult to describe. Multiple dead bodies lay strewn in the sand as the vehicle hurtled through the wilderness – no food, water or sleep for its choked occupants. The harrowing voices she heard in the desert became a mental torture. Upon arrival, a deep well filled with dirty water provided slight respite – until they learned that a dead body lay in the abyss, rotting for the past week. Encamped in a prison-like environment, Tracy joined hundreds of young men and women who were bent on reaching Europe through illegal means – even if it meant losing their lives.
What the young lady from Edo State witnessed during her ordeal can be termed unimaginable – sleeping next to a colleague to awake and see a corpse besides her, multiple women raped at gunpoint by men at whim, drinking her own urine to quench the burning thirst of the Libyan desert. Finally making it onto a rickety, makeshift inflatable boat, more than 140 desperate individuals attempted the crossing from Libya to Italian seas. None could swim nor did any have a life-jacket. A day into their hellish journey, the immigrants realised that the device supposed to be on board to send a distress signal to the Italian coast-guard was missing. With fuel disappearing and the boat leaking, they decided to return towards Libya. No sooner had they backtracked on their ill-fated journey that the fuel was finished totally, stranding the immigrants in the midst of the high sea – without any food, water or sight of the shore. A man aboard the vessel soon succumbed to the elements and died in their midst but fear of attracting a shark kept them from throwing his decomposing body into the sea. After finally being spotted by a Libyan rescue ship, the immigrants were sent straight to prison upon reaching dry ground. Several months later, through the intervention of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Tracey was deported to Nigeria, choosing to come to The SCOAN for refuge immediately she arrived.
The case of Osama Osifo is equally heart-breaking. Nursing the dream of travelling to Europe since childhood, the 300-level University of Benin student persuaded his brother to sponsor him on a journey he thought would get him out of the ‘hell’ in Nigeria. However, after traversing the dangers of the desert, Osama was kidnapped along with the other occupants of the vehicle he travelled in and held to ransom. With his brother on the phone, his assailants tortured and beat him mercilessly, hoping his cries and shouts of pain would elicit empathy from his siblings. After a month of torture, Osama’s brother mustered up the sum of N250,000 which was sufficient to release him from the ‘den of lions’. However, so far into the journey, the young Nigerian decided to venture forward rather than return. Finally getting to the tip of Libya, he joined thousands of others in a ‘camp’ awaiting for the ‘right weather’ to embark on the treacherous trip across the sea to Italy.
Just two hours into the journey, his vessel was flagged down by the Libyan coastguard and all aboard arrested for their illegal attempt. Thrown into prison, Osama experienced suffering of unquantifiable proportions. Subjected to the torturous glare of the sun, he was kept in a pit outside for hours on end as punishment for his attempted crossing. Those who died in his presence were uncountable. Getting home to Nigeria, his impression of his homeland has radically changed – “from hell on earth to Heaven.” All of the deportees from Libya were provided two buses by the IOM in Lagos – one to take them to their state and another to take them to The SCOAN! Osama opted for the second vehicle.
Precious Chioma sold everything she possessed to finance her journey abroad. After being informed about “the good life abroad” by her sister. So deep was her desperation that even the thought of her two small children did nothing to dissuade her, she resolved to take her two boys on the journey, not knowing she was about to subject them to an ordeal far beyond their years. After finally reaching Libya, Precious and her two sons were packed in a carriage underneath a huge array of watermelons – alongside hundreds of other desperate immigrants. The crafty attempt to hide the illegal transport of human beings soon backfired however as the choking and cramping became too much for Precious’ little children. Their cries for help and gasps for air soon attracted the attention of local security who uncovered the truth behind the watermelons and arrested all involved. Thrown into prison, Chioma began begging for scraps of food to give her malnourished and dishevelled children. Drinking her own urine and feeding it to her kids soon became a norm. After finally being deported to Nigeria through the intervention of the IOM, Precious joined scores of others who decided to make The SCOAN their first destination to seek refuge from God.
Upon hearing the harrowing tales of the Nigerian deportees, Prophet TB Joshua and the Emmanuel TV Partners gave each of them the sum of N150,000 and two bags of rice, totalling an amount of N10,000,000. Counselling the returnees, The SCOAN Evangelists shared a message from Prophet TB Joshua: “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. The job you admire most is not often the job you are destined for but the one you do not admire may turn out to be your destined job. These experiences in life – we often have the full package of it outside class. Experience is the best teacher.”