Visa: Fed Govt evacuates 542 stranded Nigerians from UAE

The Federal Government has evacuated 542 Nigerians who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The evacuees, who consisted of 79 males, 460 females and three infants, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on board Max Air chartered flight yesterday at 4:29 a.m.

They were received by a Federal Government team, led by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), airport officials, and security agencies.

Officials of the National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Port Health Services, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and others, were also on the ground to provide essential services to the returnees.

A statement by the Head of the Press Unit of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Manzo Ezekiel, said the evacuees were given a token for transportation to their various destinations after they were screened by health officials.

They were also said to have been profiled by relevant agencies and cleared by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).

MEMA’s Director General Mustapha Ahmed, who received the returnees on behalf of the Federal Government, urged them to learn from their experiences and be law-abiding citizens.

Ahmed, who was represented by the agency’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Sani Jiba, said the Federal Government approved the evacuation and provision of the token for the returnees to support their movement to their homes.

The Consul General of Nigeria in Dubai, Ambassador Atinuke Mohammed, who accompanied the returnees back to the country, hailed the Federal Government for its intervention in the safe evacuation of the stranded citizens back home.

Also, Nigerians have reacted angrily to the jail term slammed on a Nigerian woman, identified as @dunchichi on Twitter, to one-year jail by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government for revealing how Nigerians were reportedly detained for no reason.

She had, on August 31, posted a picture of how she and other Nigerians with valid visas were reportedly detained at Dubai international airport.

She wrote: “I’m at Dubai international airport and myself and some tiger Nigerians with valid visas are being held in a room, hours after arriving, with no explanation and no information on what we can do. Please, help me. There’s more than 20 of us.”

Barely two months later, a user, @jerrydoubles, who claimed to be her relative, announced on Saturday that @dunchichi had been sent to one-year jail for an offence relating to her earlier post on Twitter.

He said: “It is sad and regrettably heartrending to tell you all that @dunchichi was sentenced on October 12, 2022, to one-year in jail in Dubai. Her family is devastated and Nigeria didn’t save her.”

The UAE government had, last Friday, declared a visa ban on Nigerians, saying all submitted applications were rejected and fees non-refundable.

Reacting to the incident, Nigerians on social media condemned the maltreatment of Nigerians by the Federal Government and foreign nations.

@BLOSSOM4GOOD wote: “Nigerians have been reduced to nothing by international communities, courtesy of Abike Dabiri.”

@IsaiahOokonkwo wrote: “This is see finish. They know that Nigeria don’t have leaders. They know how corrupt Nigeria is.”

@daveolu wrote: “That sentencing was at the speed of light. Who represented her? Mrs. Abike should act and act swiftly. This is illegal.”

@MaziChiomaOnuoha wrote: “The tag Nigeria to your name brings you immediate disrespect and humiliation. If you doubt me, ask this woman reported in this newspaper.”

@Fidelflex wrote: “This is very sad and unacceptable from the UAE government. She only expressed her displeasure on how Nigerians were being treated and she gets jail term. Nigerian government shouldn’t accept this in anyway. Otherwise, the maltreatment of Nigerians will heightened.”

@Great_Tony1 wrote: “Can they try this rubbish with an American citizen? Hell no!! They will even release a press statement and apologise but they are sentencing someone who spoke out.”

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