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“We had to drink our own pee to survive” – Nigerian Woman Who Spent 10 Days in Sahara Desert



"We had to drink our own pee to survive" - Nigerian Woman Who Survived 10 Days in the Sahara DesertA 22-year-old Nigeria woman who left the country in April in search of greener pastures in Europe survived 10 days in Sahara Desert after being abandoned by traffickers.

The woman, nicknamed Adaora, was one of 50 migrants who left Agadez for Libya, according to NAN.

She said they were in the desert for 10 days, the fifth of which the driver had abandoned them, leaving with their belongings.

“We were in the desert for 10 days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did,” she said.

Two days after they were abandoned, 44 of the migrants died, leaving 6 who decided to start walking to look for help.

“They were too weak to keep going. We buried a few, but there were just too many to bury and we didn’t have the strength to do it,” Adaora said.

Adaora said she collapsed while walking and two of the other migrants carried her until they met the truck driver.

“We had to drink our own pee to survive. I couldn’t walk anymore. I wanted to give up.”

The 6 were rescued by a truck driver who took them to local authorities, who then alerted International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Dirkou in Agadez, Niger.

IOM said it rescued no fewer than 600 people since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation that targeted migrants stranded in Sahara Desert.

The UN migration agency, however, regretted that 52 migrants died over the period, according to its statement on Tuesday.

“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border. Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route‎,” Giuseppe Loprete, Niger Chief of Mission for IOM said.

On June 9, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation; among them were 30 women and children.

More recently, 24 migrants were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival.

“Among the 23 survivors are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. It was not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger. They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north,” Loprete said.

IOM said its new project Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region (MIRAA) launched in April will last for 12 months, and aims to ensure the protection of migrants in hard-to-reach areas while also strengthening the management of migration by the Government of Niger.

MIRAA is complementary to the larger initiative Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM), which aims to bring together in one mechanism a wide range of services and assistance for migrants, including assisted voluntary return to their countries of origin and reintegration once they return.


Photo Credit: NAN


  1. Abiola Awonusi

    June 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    This story just made me cry

    • Nkechi

      June 28, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Then you should watch documentaries and other videos on YouTube. These women are trying to find better lives in Italy albeit through prostitution. Most of them are from Edo state. And they’re hardly ever fully informed of the implications of their decisions.

      They travel from Benin, Edo state to Niger republic (Agadez) where they prostitute to be able to afford the fare to Libya through the desert – Sahara Desert! I think the largest desert in the world!!! (with all the dangers of dehydration, robbery, rape, etc). From Libya, they find their way to Italy through the Mediterranean Sea!!! More than a third die on their way, it’s terrible, you should go to YouTube.

      Not that it’s even easier in Italy. The way theyre made sex slaves there by dirty old white men, you’d shudder when you watch those videos. Then, of course, eventually, they’re deported to Nigeria, after all the fruitless hustle (because while there, they first hustle to pay their madams (connectors aka traffickers), sometimes, up to 30,000 euros. I’m really out of words. The government should look into this phenomenon.

    • deeee

      June 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Are these real people? and where are these places? This is terribly sad.

      Note to self – Greener Pasture is ONLY where God leads you, because where He leads you, He will bless you there! Amen.

  2. Rain

    June 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    stupid desperation…….you are lucky.

  3. MrsO

    June 28, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    I always tell people, it’s better to “suffer” in your own country than suffer in a strange land..

  4. Sunshiney

    June 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    It’s hard for me to believe that Nigeria is so terrible that people would put themselves through this, essentially sell themselves into slavery. I don’t get it???

  5. Nunulicious

    June 28, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Please is it this same Nigeria I’m living in? Is it that bad that people would do this? Chai. This is sad…

    • Anonymous

      June 29, 2017 at 7:22 am

      It depends on the Nigeria you’re living in. If your problems are the fact that GMB isn’t around, there’s so much fakery and snobbery, you need to change your car, the price of PMS/Diesel is going up and you may have to get an inverter, dollar rates that make tickets expensive, you are not living in the same Nigeria as people who are looking for 12,000 to pay their house rent for the year and those are the lucky ones sef. My mum pays rent for some widows and gives them foodstuff, I hear some of the challenges these women have and I just transfer money to my mum to give them.

  6. Chinedu Ozulumba

    June 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    It’s rather unfortunate, despite stories of doom we hear about immigrating this way, most people still fall victim to this

  7. Romanus Okereke

    June 29, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    This is just a story of o survivor for just a time. What of many who had no trace and many who could not be linked or saved by a good Samaritan truck driver like Adaora. But why would people continue to take such a high profile risks with their lives, even when the know that even if they had succeeded in reaching their destinations, will they not be taking even greater risks their to survive? It is really a pity; because these high profile risks are taken because of economic crunch in the country. May God help us.

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