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75 Nigerian Football Fans Disappear In Russia

230 stranded Nigerian fans were profiled to board an Ethiopian Airlines to Abuja but at the last minute only 155 boarded the flight

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed that 75 out of 230 stranded Nigerian football fans absconded in Russia after the 2018 World Cup.

The ministry’s spokesman, Tope Elias-Fatile, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the fans absconded in spite of government’s efforts to help them return home.

He explained that 230 stranded Nigerian fans were profiled to board an Ethiopian Airlines to Abuja but at the last minute only 155 boarded the flight.

“As of the last count, over 230 stranded Nigerians had been cleared to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Abuja, however, only 155 boarded the flight that arrived in the country on July 22,” he said.

Fatile explained that the ministry officials contributed money to feed some of the stranded Nigerians in Moscow as many of them had no money, noting that the mission had done a lot to facilitate their repatriation, but they did not appreciate it.

He said, ”Do you know that the officials at our mission had to sacrifice their earning by contributing money to feed the stranded fans?”

Fatile assured that the Federal Government was willing to assist Nigerians at anytime, anywhere in the world.

Read Also: FIFA Increases World Cup Prize Money To $400m

The spokesperson said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had also made some contacts with relevant agencies to commence investigation into suspected human trafficking in the case.

Onyeama, who was at the airport to monitor their arrival, had said that the Federal Government was going to probe the case, adding that the planned investigation was underway.

The PUNCH had reported that a combination strict asylum policy for migrants and excruciating hardship forced a number of Nigerians allegedly trafficked to Russia as Super Eagles fans storm the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow seeking help to return home.

It was learnt that some of them were made to part with N350,000 each to travel to the transcontinental country by some agents who arranged their trips using the visa-free FAN ID for the 2018 World Cup.

It was learnt that while some of them were told that there were job opportunities for Africans in Russia, others were told that they could cross the borders into Poland and Finland on arrival in the country to seek asylum.

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