Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
A total of 542 stranded Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) evacuated back home by the federal government arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja, on board Max Air chartered flight on yesterday morning at 4:29am.
The evacuees consisted of 79 males, 460 females and three infants.
The stranded Nigerians last month made a viral video appealing to the federal government to come to their aid as they were stranded at the Dubai international airport after the UAE authorities seized their passports.
The evacuees earlier scheduled to arrive Nigeria Saturday morning were held back due to certain unforeseen circumstances.
On arrival, they were received by a federal government team led by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and airport officials, security agencies including National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), NAPTIP, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, NDLEA, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Customs service, Port Health Services, NCDC, among others.
On arrival, the returnees were screened by the health officials, profiled by various relevant agencies and cleared by Nigerian Immigration Service before being given some amount of money as transport fare by NEMA before leaving the airport.
Earlier, the Director General, NEMA, Mustapha Habib Ahmed, who officially received the returnees on behalf of the federal government admonished them to learn from their experiences and be law abiding citizens by promoting the image of Nigeria.
Ahmed, represented by the Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Sani Ahmed Jiba, noted that the federal government had approved the evacuation and provision of the token for the returnees to support movement of the returnees back to their homes.
Similarly, in her remarks, the Consul General of Nigeria in Dubai Ambassador Atinuke Taibat Mohammed, who accompanied the returnees back on the flight appreciated the federal government for the special intervention in safe evacuation of the stranded citizens back home.