BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Over 200 Nigerians will to leave Moscow back home as the World Cup is winding down are reportedly stranded at the Terminal A of Sheremyetovo 1 Airport in Moscow.
They are reportedly stranded at the airport from Thursday morning till early on Friday before they were conveyed back to the city under Russian Police guard.
According to According to Nze Ikay Chibueze Ok-Umeh, the Social and Welfare Officer of the Nigerian Community in Russia, the problem resulted from the inability of both Turkish Airlines and that of Morocco to ferry the passengers back to Nigeria.
“While the Airline representatives were blaming their counterparts in Lagos, their counterparts in Lagos in turn were blaming their agents in Lagos and so the blame game continues without end”, remarked in a statement sent to www.sportsvillagesquare.com.
The Social and Welfare Officer of the Nigerian Community in Russia further pointed out that as at Friday morning, “the airlines are yet to agree on which of their branches is to take the financial responsibility of transporting these Nigerians home.
According to him, “to maintain civility at the airport, the Russian riot police aka (AMON) were called in. After much dialog, they provided a bus and the Nigerians under police escort in a motorcade were taken to the Nigerian Embassy at about 4 am this morning (Friday).
Nze Ikay Chibueze Ok-Umeh revealed that the embassy swiftly reacted is relocating the Nigerians to hostel accommodations and some Nigerian residents were asked to prepare food for them while the impasse is being solved.
He further revealed that some more Nigerians stranded in Kaliningrad (where Nigeria played against Croatia on June 16), Volgograd (venue of Nigeria’s 2-0 defeat of Iceland) and St. Petersburg (where Nigeria played against Argentina) are calling the officers of the Nigerian Community in Russia to assist in looking for a way back to Moscow.
The Social and Welfare officer said that his organization is appealing to Nigerians legally residing in these areas to be their brother’s keepers “by kindly assisting in moving these stranded Nigerians to Moscow especially those still stranded in Kaliningrad.
“They cannot travel by road or by rail except by air as they do not have EU transit visas to pass through the Baltic states. Kindly seek help from NGOs in your areas to assist your brothers and sisters back home”, the welfare officer remarked in an SOS sent to legally resident Nigerians.
Apart from calling on both the Nigeria Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and the Nigeria Football Federation, Ok-Umeh asked the Federal Government to step in.
He wants the government of send chartered flights to evacuate the stranded citizens in Russia who came to support the Super Eagles and also investigate the Turkish and Moroccan airlines.