Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Over 230 stranded Nigerians will, Friday, July 20, arrive Abuja from Russia.
Recall that at the end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, some Nigerians who were fans of the Super Eagles, were reported to have been stranded in Russia.
The evacuation of the stranded Nigerians followed a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
The spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, in a statement issued, in Abuja, on Thursday night, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been working very closely with the Ministry of Aviation following Mr. President’s directive that Nigerians who were stranded in the Russian Federation at the end of the 2018 World Cup Tournament should be evacuated immediately.
Elias-Fatile added that the Ministry had equally been monitoring the process of the evacuation, which is under the coordination of the Mission of Nigeria in Moscow.
“As at the last count, over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Abuja.
“The aircraft arrived Moscow from Addis Ababa at 13.20 hours (local time) earlier today and would depart Domodedovo Airport in Moscow with the stranded Nigerians at 08.30 hours tomorrow, Friday, 20th July, 2018 to arrive Abuja at 16.00 hours same day.
“It would be recalled that over 150 stranded Nigerians besieged the Embassy of Nigeria in Moscow on Thursday 12th July, 2018.
“They were among the fans who travelled to the Russian Federation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Tournament and were stranded after the events due to lack of funds for their upkeep as well as allegation that some airline travel agents cancelled return tickets of their customers without their knowledge,” Elias-Fatile said.
Elias-Fatile further said the Nigerian Mission submitted a formal complaint to host authorities against the airlines that brought the stranded Nigerians to the Russian Federation, especially those without return tickets and highlighted that it contravened the rules and regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“The Mission also made arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of the stranded Nigerians in hostels around Moscow.
“On Monday 16th of July, 2018, Mr. President directed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Aviation to evacuate the Nigerians to Abuja immediately,” Elias-Fatile added.
Elias-Fatile also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to monitor the evacuation process and keep the public informed as appropriate.