The Nigerian Government has cancelled an evacuation flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after about 230 citizens, who indicated interest in returning to Nigeria had all paid N242,000 for air tickets.
The citizens desire to return to Nigeria following the outbreak of Coronavirus across the world and the damage it was causing.
Flight EK0783 from Dubai (1020) to Lagos by 1500 on April 26, 2020, was said to have been cancelled on Friday after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failed to get flight clearance from UAE authorities.
Most of the evacuees, who allegedly paid about N242,000 per head, could not understand why the ministry allowed them to book Emirates flight without any solid arrangement.
The situation has left many Nigerians stranded and angry at the ministry for failing to make proper arrangements despite having three weeks for preparation.
However, the ministry placed the blame on the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for not concluding arrangements, including flight clearance, to repatriate the affected Nigerians.
The Nations reports that the returnees paid for their flight tickets following assurances from the Nigerian Ambassador to UAE, Mallam Mohammed Dansanta Rimi.
Rimi on his part was said to have opened a line of communication with the ministry on the list of Nigerians willing to return home, but the ministry could not complete the three-week process.
As at the time of filing this report, the fate of the stranded 230 Nigerians was unknown with many claiming that they had spent their savings to buy tickets.
“We received a message from Emirates Airline yesterday saying our flight had been cancelled.
“When we reached out to the airline to find out why, we were told that the Nigerian Embassy requested the cancellation of the flight.
“We want to go back home, we are stranded, we don’t have money to pay rent again. We used our last cash to buy tickets and now we have nowhere to go,” one of the returnees said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Government had asked its citizens in the United Kingdom to pay N160,000 to a “Nigerian doctor” to conduct coronavirus tests on them before returning to Nigeria.