A viral video of some Nigerians stranded in Saudi Arabia for more than seven months on Friday surfaced on social media.
“We are here more than three months, six months, seven months ago, without any action, no better information on transport to Nigeria,” the male narrator in the video said.
“According to the rules and regulations of this location, we are not supposed to be here for more than two weeks.
“Most nationals of other countries have been flown back to their countries. Only we Nigerians don’t have any source or way of getting back.
“I’m here on behalf of others to seek your assistance to get us back to our country.”
Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa in an apparent reaction to the video on Friday said “Nigerian irregular migrants in Saudi Arabia are due to be evacuated on the 28th and 29th of January, pending any unforeseen issues.”
The evacuation is expected to be carried out in two batches of 400 and 200 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the NIDCOM chief said.
Ms Dabiri-Erewa’s tweet appeared to confirm the scenes in the viral video, which showed bodies – wrapped in black polythene bags – lying on the floor in a packed room.
A Twitter user with the handle @KsaApc said some of the affected persons were not able to renew their residencies in the Muslim country.
“I spoke with one of the brothers and he told me that his brother was among the detainees,” the tweet said. “Part of them have ended their stays and do not have the ability to renew and the other does not have regular residencies.”
In her Friday tweet, Ms Abike Dabiri said “their evacuation was delayed due to issues relating to Covid-19.
“We appeal to Nigerians to resist traveling abroad without proper documents. It’s become very dangerous and more difficult”
NIDCOM has serially intervened in cases of stranded Nigerians abroad, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
In August, the agency helped to facilitate the evacuation of 261 Nigerians stranded in China.
Nigerians in a Saudi Arabia prison have released a video to make the world aware of their plight while asking for help.
In the video, the Nigerians said that according to Saudi Arabia laws, they should only be detained for about two weeks and then deported. pic.twitter.com/a0APBIJ5jT
— Africans in Diaspora (@DiasporaIn) January 22, 2021