Reacting to a viral video of a Nigerian in the United Arab Emirates who claimed that he has been left with no other choice than to retreat to the Desert by the United Arab Emirates Authorities, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has stated that Nigerians who are locked away in foreign countries with unfavorably living conditions will be free to return back to the country as from 29th of August 2020 when international air travel would commence.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government as well as other nations of the world had placed an embargo on entry of immigrants into its space because of the outbreak of the novel virus, Covid-19 which resulted to the death of thousands across nations of the world
The footage which has been shared across different social media which has been viewed by many showed the stranded individuals standing in an open ground outside a city believed to be Dubai.
The person behind the footage had pointed accusing fingers at the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, stating that they are racist who are preventing them from leaving the United Arab Emirates for their respective home countries
Reacting to the video, the spokesman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye stated that the Nigerian mission in the United Arab Emirates had already carried out the emigration of many Nigerians, stating that those affected as shown in the video can return back to Nigeria on their own without expecting any help from the Federal government
According Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, “Our mission in UAE has been carrying out evacuation of stranded Nigerians and those who were serious have been brought back.
“For those in the video, they can hang on till August 29 when international air travel will commence and they would be free to come back on their own.”
Also commenting on the video, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated that the protesters who were mostly irregular migrants were asked to leave the UAE on March 1, but the deadline was later extended to August 17.
She explained that the federal government of Nigeria through her office had earlier provided them the opportunity of a free evacuation flight which was out rightly ignored by them
According to Dabiri-Erewa, “179 came back on Saturday free of charge, but some are still bent on hiding and breaking the laws. You shouldn’t stay illegally anywhere.”
In recent years the Nigerian government has had to handle the various case of immigrants who are living in unfavorable conditions outside the country, most of these immigrants lefts the shores of the country in the hope of a better living outside the country. While most of them have been unfortunate to meet situations which were against their expectations, it is quite important for the nation to take a drastic step aimed to rectifying this ugly and unfortunate situation which has in no way painted the image of the nation well in the international community.
While Nigerians must be encouraged to shun desperate attempt to make it by travelling out of the country to countries that offers little or no assurance of a secured or better living, the Federal government must ensure that they on their part make the country an attractive one for its citizens.
By Marcus Amudipe