AfricaNigeriaPress Release

FG denies frustrating return of stranded students in S’Arabia

By Rukayat Akanbi

Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied reports that it frustrated the return of its citizens studying in Kingdom of Suadi Arabia. The Ministry in a statement Signed by it Spoke person, Ferdinand Nwonye on Thursday described the video clip making the round as “misleading, fabricated by some misguided, unpatriotic and ungrateful Nigerian students.”

It dismissed the media reports which claimed that the Government of Nigeria, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jeddah, have deliberately refused to facilitate their evacuation to Nigeria for holiday since 15th May, 2020.

The Ministry said: “The group further alleged that the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jeddah refused to issue permits to students to travel home and failed to secure overflight clearance and kanding permit for the Saudi Arabian airlines (SAUDIA) to airlift Nigerians from the Kingdom.

“The Ministry wishes to state that the Nigerian Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in line with Federal Government guidelines for the evacuation of Nigerian Nationals stranded in different parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been engaging relevant host authorities to facilitate the evacuation of Nigerians from the Kingdom.

It said further that, though, the Saudi Airlines fixed had 8th July and 1st August, 2020 respectively, the Airline never informed the Embassy of the dates or sought for approval of the proposed dates from Nigeria either through the Embassy of Nigeria in Riyadh or the Consulate General of Nigeria in Jeddah, which is against the spirit of established diplomatic protocols, hence the inability to operate the said flights.

The Ministry said that the Embassy officials did not demand for any commission or graft from the airlines as insinuated by the misinformed select Nigerian students, whose allegations have since been condemned and refuted by the leadership of Nigerian students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Ministry also said it wishes to recall that the Embassy of Nigeria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia successfully facilitated the evacuation of 117 Nigerians from the Kingdom via Azman Air Services Limited, Flight No: ZQ381 on 19th July, 2020, and is committed in ensuring that the right processes and established guidelines are adhered to in the evacuation of Nigerian Nationals. It said the unfortunate allegations by the misinformed students are therefore absolutely false and should be disregarded.

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