FG airlifts 152 Nigerian World Cup fans stranded in Russia
Written by NobleAdmin on July 20, 2018
The Federal Government has evacuated 152 out of the over 230 Nigerians who were stranded in Russia after the 2018 World Cup tournament.
The football fans boarded an Ethiopian aircraft on Friday morning and were expected to arrive Abuja by 6pm.
Some media had reported the evacuation on Thursday, whereas the true position of things is that the stranded Nigerians were actually airlifted on Friday morning.
The media also erroneously reported 230 fans as having been evacuated, whereas only 152 have been airlifted so far.
The evacuation, which was being carried out by the Ministry of Aviation, followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the men should be brought back to the country.
Further to this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has been monitoring the process of the evacuation, which is under the coordination of the Mission of Nigeria in Moscow.
The ministry spokesman, Tope Elias-Fatile, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday night, disclosed that over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Abuja.
The aircraft arrived Moscow from Addis Ababa at 13.20 hours (local time) earlier on Thursday and departed Domodedovo Airport in Moscow with the stranded Nigerians at 08.30 on Friday.
The stranded football fans had besieged the Embassy of Nigeria in Moscow on July 12 claiming they were defrauded of their return tickets.
They alleged that some airline travel agents cancelled their return tickets without their knowledge.
“Consequently, the Nigerian Mission submitted a formal complaint to the host authorities against the airlines that brought the stranded Nigerians to the Russian Federation, especially those without return tickets and highlighted that it contravened the rules and regulations of the International Air Transport Association.
“The Mission also made arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of the stranded Nigerians in hostels around Moscow,” the ministry explained, adding that it would continue to monitor the evacuation process.