FG receives 1,071 returnees from Saudi Arabia in two days

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By  Abdur-Rahman Balogun

*ABUJA, MARCH 31, 2021:* Fresh batch of 418 Nigerians from Saudi Arabia joined others on Wednesday bringing the total returnees to Nigeria to 1071 within three days.

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L-R: Dr. Doris John, Epidemiologist, FCT Public Health dept, Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malam Muhammad Bashir, Director, FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board and Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Public Relations Unit, NiDCOM (Rep. Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO), at the press briefing on Nigerian returnees from Saudi Arabia, at the FCT Hajj Camp in Abuja on Wednesday.

Leading the inter-governmental agencies to receive the returnees, Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Consular and Legal Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said 255 and 398 returnees arrived Nigeria on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

Akinremi said that the reintegration exercise was made possible through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to create a smooth  rehabilitation process for the returnees.

He commended all other agencies like NAPTIP, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) , NIMC, FCT Pilgrims Board and Public Health for their wonderful coordination alongside with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to him, the rapid testing method for Covid-19 detection was carried out while the returnees were profiled into states and gender.

As against previous arrangement where each of them will stay in the camp for seven to 14 days , he said the maximum number on camp is three days before they are released to go and meet their family members.

He assured the returnees that the accommodation at the camp has the basic amenities which include a 24-hour medical service to look into the welfare of the returnees before they are joined with their families.

The Ambassador said that a token amount of N20,000 was given to each of the returnees for their transportation while free meals and toiletries were supplied to all of them.

Representing Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman NIDCOM, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head of Media welcomed the returnees and promised that everything will be done to make them comfortable in Nigeria.

He reiterated NIDCOM appeals to those still wishing to leave the country due to one challenge or the other to have a rethink especially if they do not have any job to do abroad to remain at home and think of what to do for themselves.

Speaking in the same vein, the DG NAPTIP, Mrs Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, appreciated the efforts of the Saudi Arabia Government to liaise with its counterparts in Nigeria to enable a thorough operation of bringing Nigerians, in Saudi Arabia, home.

She said the Agency is equally profiling all the returnees and counselling them as part of the rehabilitation process.

It will be recalled that more than 1000 Nigerian returnees from  Saudi Arabia were evacuated back to the country in January 2021.

 
*Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Public Relations, NIDCOM Abuja*

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