World Cup: 152 stranded Nigerians airlifted from Russia

World Cup: 152 stranded Nigerians airlifted from Russia

- Some Nigerians stranded in Russia have been cleared to return to the country

- They were stranded after they went to Russia for the World Cup

- President Buhari had ordered that they be evacuated back to the country

152 Nigerians have been airlifted from Russia as part of the federal government's effort to evacuate Nigerians stranded in Russia after the World Cup.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Nigerians stranded in Moscow, Russia at the end of the 2018 World Cup Tournament would be evacuated on Friday, July 20.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Dr Tope Elias-Fatile, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja said, over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Abuja on Friday.

He said that the development was sequel to Mr President’s directive that stranded Nigerians in Russia be evacuated with immediate effect.

According to him, the Ministry and Nigerian mission in Moscow in collaboration with the Ministry of Aviation have been monitoring the process of the evacuation.

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"As of the last count, over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Abuja.

”The aircraft would depart Domodedovo Airport in Moscow with the stranded Nigerians at 08.30 hours Friday, July, 20th and arrive Abuja at 16.00 hours same day,” he said.

He noted that over 150 stranded Nigerians were among the fans who travelled to the Russian Federation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament that besieged the Embassy of Nigeria in Moscow on July 12th.

The fans according to him, were stranded after the events due to lack of funds for their upkeep as well as allegation that some airline travel agents cancelled return tickets of their customers without their knowledge.

Consequently, the Mission submitted a formal complaint to host authorities against the airlines that brought the stranded Nigerians to the Russian Federation. The Mission also made arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of the stranded Nigerians in hostels around Moscow," he said.

He noted that President Mohammadu Buhari had on July 16 directed the ministers of foreign affairs and aviation to evacuate the Nigerians to Abuja immediately.

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Fatile said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would continue to monitor the evacuation process and keep the public informed.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that Nigerians stranded in Russia be repatriated to the country.

According to The Cable, the president gave this order on Monday, July 16.

According to Garba Shehu, who is the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, the president directed Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs; and Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, to commence the process of repatriating the Nigerians.

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