Saudi decongests prisons, to repatriate 200 Nigerians

**94 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon return
**Oyo receives 55 returnees
 
   
To decongest their prisons, the Saudi Arabian Government has concluded plans to deport 200 Nigerians serving different prison terms soon.
The disclosure was made by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa at the Murtala Muhammed International airport while receiving 94 stranded Nigerians in troubled Lebanon.
The decision to repatriate the 200 prisoners back to Nigeria, she reiterated was borne out of the zeal of the Saudi government to decongest their prisons at a critical time of COVID-19 pandemic.
The 94 Nigerians stranded in Lebanon were brought back to the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport aboard  Middle East Airline (MEA) special flight arranged by the federal government.
The Middle East Airline aircraft landed at the Lagos airport with the returnees around 4pm. Out of the 94 returnees, 55 are indigenes of Oyo State.
Joining the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM). Abike Dabiri-Erewa  to receive the returnees were the Senior Special Assistant to Oyo State Government on Diaspora, Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu with representatives of NEMA and NAPTIP.
Speaking to journalists, Dabiri-Erewa thanked the Federal Government for arranging Middle East Airline special flight that brought the returnees.
Nigerian returnees on arrival
According to Erewa, besides the 94 that arrived today, another 104 are being expected in few days time while others are billed to arrive next week through Abuja.
Erewa lauded the effort of the Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria who she said made frantic effort to ensure the seamless evacuation of the Nigerians.
She cautioned young Nigerians that may still be nursing the idea of traveling illegally to foreign countries, saying it was not worth the trouble in view of the serious impact of the coronavirus pandemic had caused countries which has led to the beaming of searchlight to be on illegal travelers.
She also advised Nigerians who traveled illegally to places like Lebanon or Dubai to use the opportunity made available by the government’s flight arrangements to return home warning that they may regret any action to stay back in the countries as the United Arab Emirates would anytime from now clamp down on illegal immigrants.
 Sarumi-Aliyu confirmed that 55 Oyo State indigenes were among the returnees stating that there was no place like home.
While thanking the Lebanese community especially the Chargoury family for assisting in the evacuation of the stranded Nigerians, she cautioned the traffickers to desist from Nigerian young women.
Among the 94 returnees were those whose case went viral for weeks.
Wole Shadare