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Nigeria repatriates hundreds of stranded citizens from Saudi Arabia

Nigeria repatriated hundreds of its citizens from Saudi Arabia on Thursday after they overstayed their visas and were left stranded, Reuters reported.

Nigerians in Diaspora Commission on Thursday said a total of 384 out of 802 Nigerians stranded in Saudi Arabia have arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The commission said the returnees included 300 males, 83 females, and one infant.

NIDCOM said the returnees arrived in Abuja via Saudi Air flight B773 at about 1:10 pm local time.

“The returnees will be quarantined at the Federal Capital Territory Hajj camp for 14 days in line with the reversed COVID-19 protocols by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.NIDCOM said on Twitter,” NIDCOM said.

High unemployment and two recessions in four years have pushed thousands of Nigerians to seek work overseas. But the coronavirus pandemic has reduced employment opportunities in other countries, and travel restrictions have left many stranded.

A video circulating on social media in recent weeks had shown Nigerians who said they had been held in a camp in Saudi Arabia for more than three months while other countries had flown out their stranded citizens within two weeks or so.

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