Michael Onwuka, Enugu
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is working hard to collate the details of over 300 Nigerians stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Spokesperson of the ministry, Mrs Francisca Omayuli, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
Recall that the affected Nigerians are among nationals from other African countries who are stranded and in custody for various reasons at the holding centre of Al Aweer Immigration Office, UAE.
Some of the reasons include overstay, lost passports, lack of documentation, especially, in the case of infants, pending cases with Emirati Police among others.
Omayuli said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Mission had been working assiduously with the UEA authorities to assist the Nigerian nationals overcome their challenges.
“The affected Nigerians are among nationals from other African countries in custody pending the consideration of their cases and conclusion of the legal processes by the relevant authorities before repatriation.
“The Nigerian Mission has been working hard to collate the details of the stranded Nigerians since the commencement of the saga in Aug. 15, 2022, with a view to issuing Emergency Travel Certificates to those of them with no means of identification,” she said.
According to Omayuli, the UAE authorities will process process the immigration papers of those on ‘overstay,’ who are the majority, and will by law be required to pay fines.
“Some of the affected Nigerians have fines of over $10, 000 per person. The UEA Government is willing to waive the fines for those who are unable to pay. However, not without the attendant penalty of 10 years ban from the UAE.
“Those in police custody for other alleged offenses must be cleared, while those without documentation or means of identification, especially, infants will go through legal procedures for rectification,” she said.
The ministry’s spokesperson said that the relevant Emirati authorities would complete all the necessary processes before the repatriation of the affected Nigerians by the Federal Government.
She said that the Nigerian Mission in the UAE would provide the necessary assistance to ensure that the stranded Nigerians returned home.
“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,” Omayuli said.