The Nigerian government on Sunday said it is working with authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to assist Nigerians stranded in Dubai.
A viral video emerged on social media recently with women who claimed to be Nigerians calling on the government to assist them and also accusing the Nigerian mission in Dubai of being uninterested in their plight.
Following the emergence of the video, Francisca Omayuli speaking for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release, said the Nigerian Mission has been working hard to collate the details of the stranded Nigerians with a view to issuing Emergency Travel Certificates (ETC) to those with no means of identification.
She described the allegation against the mission as “completely untrue and misleading” adding that the Nigerian mission has been working to assist over 300 Nigerians in custody at the holding centre of Al Aweer Immigration Office.
This is pending the consideration of their cases and conclusion of the legal processes by the relevant authorities before repatriation.
They are being held for various reasons including overstay, lost passports, lack of documentation especially in the case of infants, pending cases with the Emirati Police, among others.
According to Mrs Omayuli, the UAE authorities will process immigration papers for those who have overstayed and are required by law to pay fines. Some of the affected Nigerians have fines of over $10,000 per person.
However, the UAE government is willing to waive the fines for those who are unable to pay, but with 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.
Affected Nigerians cannot be repatriated until the processes are concluded by the UAE authorities, Mrs Omayuli noted.