The Federation government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted the allegations that it abandoned stranded Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Recall that Nigerians who were stranded in the UAE had earlier sent an SOS to the federal government seeking to be evacuated back to Nigeria.
In a statement by Francisca Omayuli, the Ministry’s Spokesperson, it noted that the FG is currently collating the details of the stranded Nigerians with a view to issuing Emergency Travel Certificates to those of them with no means of identification.
What the Federal government is saying
The FG noted in the statement that various processes are involved which have to be finalised by the relevant Emirati authorities before repatriation of affected Nigerians by the FG.
The FG stated, “The attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria has been drawn to news making the rounds on social media that the Nigerian Mission in the UAE has abandoned some stranded Nigerians in that country and is making it difficult for them to return home.
“The allegation is completely untrue and misleading as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Mission have been working assiduously with the UAE authorities to assist over 300 Nigerians stranded in the country for various reasons, ranging from overstay, lost passports, and lack of documentation especially in the case of infants, to pending cases with the Emirati Police.
The affected Nigerians are among nationals from other African countries in custody at the holding centre of Al Aweer Immigration Office, pending the consideration of their cases and the conclusion of the legal processes by the relevant authorities before repatriation.
“The Nigerian Mission has since the commencement of the saga on August 15, 2022, been working hard to collate the details of the stranded Nigerians with a view to issuing Emergency Travel Certificates to those of them with no means of identification.
“The UAE authorities on the other hand, will process the immigration papers of those on overstay, who are the majority and are required by law to pay fines. Some of the affected Nigerians have fines of over $10,000 per person. The UAE Government is willing to waive the fines for those who are unable to pay, however, not without the attendant penalty of 10-year-ban from the UAE. Those in police custody for other alleged offenses must be cleared, while those without documentation or means of identification especially infants will go through legal procedures for rectification.
“The various processes outlined above have to be finalised by the relevant Emirati authorities before repatriation of affected Nigerians by the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government wishes to seize this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians in the UAE to remain law-abiding and avoid actions that would inflict untold hardship on them.” The statement reads .
What you should know
In a viral video, thousands of people were seen seated in an open area with their luggage seeking the intervention of the Nigerian government following the mass deportation being carried out by the UAE authorities.
According to social media reports, they claimed that nationals of other countries who were in camp with them have been attended to by their mission in UAE, but for them, they have not been able to reach the Nigerian Mission as they didn’t get a response to the many messages they sent.
However, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa told journalists in Abuja that profiling of the stranded Nigerians was being carried out ahead of their airlifting back to Nigeria.
She said it was necessary to properly get detailed information about the Nigerians over there before evacuating them.
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