Nigeria concludes repatriation of citizens from Saudi Arabia

Abuja, Dec 31: The last batch of Nigerians being repatriated from Saudi Arabia has arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport here, a top official said Tuesday.

The remaining 131 deportees out of 518 were transported home, Abdulazeez Dan-Kano, an official of the immigration service in the ministry of foreign affairs, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Dan-Kano said all the 518 deportees arrived in the country in six batches between Dec 25 and Dec 31.

He appealed to Nigerians still hiding in slums in Saudi Arabia to embrace the benevolence of the federal government and return home.

Dan-Kano said the Nigerian Embassy in Saudi Arabia had since begun sensitisation campaign on the need for proper documentation of Nigerians who were legal residents in the country.

He said most of the deportees were Nigerians who travelled to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage, but stayed there at the end of the exercise in search of greener pastures.

The official said the affected Nigerians had requested the government’s assistance to facilitate their return.

Dan-Kano said the Saudi government had also started the deportation of more than 951 Nigerians in its custody.

The affected Nigerians were arrested by the Saudi authorities at the expiration of the November deadline for all illegal immigrants to leave the country.

IANS