Mabel Emmanuel and Steven Ekhiator, with their baby, David.
As the groundswell of outcry against slavery in Libya mounts, cheering news emerged late last week of a Nigerian couple whose romance has led to the birth of a child.  

Steven Ekhiator and Mabel Emmanuel, some of the newly-returned Nigerian migrants from Libya recounted that story to BBC of how they met and started a family in a Libyan detention centre, having failed to make the crossing to Europe. They were among some of the over 200 illegal migrants flown home to Nigeria recently. They had their baby boy, whom they named David, returning home with them.

Mabel recounted how the love story began. “They kidnapped me in a place called Sabha, that’s when I met my husband. He bailed me out, it was last year and we fell in love,” Emmanuel said.

“I found out I was pregnant in March this year and I gave birth to my baby in August. I gave birth to my baby in prison, with tears. Even though I was pregnant, they were still beating and maltreating me. But I give God the praise that I’m still alive today and I have my baby and my husband now.”

For Steven, who made the journey five times but failed, it was the most agonising experience of his life. To welcome the arrival of his first child in such a situation was quite traumatizing for him.

“We were inside the deportation camp …we are in deportation camp when she gave birth. Walahi I felt bad. Every day I cried. I couldn’t even eat. Libya is a prison….a life without freedom. I tried five times, but failed. My boat would go, twice my boat capsized on the sea. Now I am home very very happy hundred percent happy.” He told BBC Video journalist: Abdulmalik Fahd Abdulmalik.

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