30 years old, Nigeria

(rescued by MSF on 29 March 2022)

“I left Nigeria two years ago. When I was 13 years ago I lost my dad and my mum is sick. She had a heart attack and since then she has to take pills regularly. I also have a 7 year old son back in Nigeria that I had to take care of, but in Nigeria I would make about 20.000 Nigerian Naira (47 EUR) per month which was not enough to cover all the expenses of my family and the medicine of my mom. The mother of my son is in Europe but we are not in touch. My son does not even go to school because I do not have enough money to pay for his school fees. I decided to sell the land that my dad left to us, save the money and use this money in order to go to Libya with my new girlfriend. 

We were lucky during the trip because to cross from Nigeria to Libya is very dangerous. There are many terrorist groups that can rob you or even kill you. Thankfully we managed to cross without getting through them.

Once we arrived in Libya, I started to work in construction and my girlfriend was a cleaner. I used to work about 9 hours per day and I was getting 50 Libyan dinars (9,8 EUR) per day. We managed to save up some money and tried to cross the sea. When we were in the sea the Libyan coastguard stopped us after two hours. They took us to Sama prison and then sold all of us to Sufada prison which is run by terrorists. There they forced men to go and work in constructions every day and they would keep our salaries and raped the women. 

They took us to Sama prison and then sold all of us to Sufada prison which is run by terrorists

Four Libyan men took my girlfriend to a separate room and asked her to have sex with them but she refused and said she was married. They asked her who her husband was and she told me my name. They identified me, took me to the same room and started to beat me. Every time she would refuse to have sex with them they would beat me. At some point they put a gun in my head and they told her that if she’d refuse again they would shoot me. I was so afraid so I was begging her to accept. We had no other choice. Finally, the four men raped her before my eyes. From what I heard, they kept doing that multiple times. Unless we would pay them they would not stop. I called a childhood friend who is in Germany and asked him to send me some money so we can pay the Libyans and go out. 

Once we were out we tried a second time to cross but we were pushed back again. This time they were more aggressive. They kept asking us who is the captain, meaning who was driving the boat. We were refusing to say who was driving and they started kicking us. Then we were again in jail and we paid again to buy our freedom. The third time I tried to cross there was no space in the boat for her, so she stayed behind. Since then I lost contact with her because no one of us have a phone. I am very very worried about her. 

When I was in the boat the third time and it started getting filled with water I thought I would die. I fell into the water. We had no life jackets because the smuggler was charging us 200 Libyan Dinars (39 EUR). So at some point I said to God to forgive me for anything bad I might have done. Finally we were so lucky that MSF came to rescue us. I remember that it was a Sudanese guy from our boat who actually dragged me out of the water. 

I never imagined that the whole journey (from Nigeria) would be that dangerous. When I was in Libya and witnessed the situation there I knew that I might die there. I told my son that if he stops hearing from me, he should be strong and that I will be still there, in a way, for him.”