The Federal Government has denied claims that the stranded Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were abandoned.
The government denied the allegation In a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Francisca Omayuli.
The spokesperson stated that the allegation against FG is “untrue and misleading.”
The statement read; “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, lack of documentation especially in the case of infants, to pending cases with the Emirate 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 conclusion of the legal processes by the relevant authorities before repatriation.
He added that “the Nigerian Mission has since the commencement of the saga on 15th August 2022 been working hard to collate the details of the stranded Nigerians to issue Emergency Travel Certificates (ETC) to those of them with no means of identification.”
“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 offences 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 finalized 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 read.