The latest set of Nigerian returnees from Saudi Arabia has alleged that the country’s consulate in Saudi Arabia is helping more citizens of the neighbouring Niger Republic than Nigerians, who are stuck in deportation camps in the Arabian country.
The affected Nigerians, who served mostly as house helps in Saudi Arabia, also accused their former bosses of sexually molesting and maltreating them while in their service.”They are not Nigerians; they are Nigeriens. Nigerians are there and they are suffering. I was there for two months plus in the deportation camp,” a visibly angry Nigerian told journalists in Abuja.
Another returnee, who spoke in the Hausa language, lamented the dehumanising treatment they were subjected to in Saudi Arabia.
She said in a report by ChannelsTv, “My suffering started from my arrival in Saudi Arabia. I was sad because my education couldn’t help me in my country. I was in my master’s house doing my chores.”
The Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called for calm while addressing the allegations.
The Consular-General in the Ministry, Ambassador Akinremi Bolaji, said the Federal Government would launch a probe into the incident.
“I am telling you that with the permission of the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, what you have said here will not go uninvestigated,” he said.
“Now I will meet with those who have said this and if you have names, let us know.”
Since January 2021, the Federal Government has evacuated over 3,000 people from Saudi Arabia, with last week witnessing the return of over 1,000 people.
Although some of the returnees have tested positive for COVID-19, they have received adequate treatment because they are asymptomatic.
Accusations of abuse and maltreatment of Nigerians in foreign countries have been rife in recent years.
A viral video from India recently alleged that a Nigerian was killed in India, prompting protests and calls for intervention from the Nigerian government.