A video of some stranded Nigerians crammed in a building in Saudi Arabia was released online on Thursday.
The man who filmed the video stated that the people have been in the country for about seven months.
While BizWatchNigeria could not verify the authenticity of the claims made by the man, the Chairman of the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Friday said “Nigerian irregular migrants in Saudi Arabia are due to be evacuated on the 28th and 29th of January, pending any unforeseen issues.”
The evacuation is expected to be carried out in two batches of 400 and 200 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the NIDCOM chief said.
Ms Dabiri-Erewa’s tweet appeared to confirm the scenes in the viral video, which showed bodies – wrapped in black polythene bags – lying on the floor in a packed room.
“We are here more than three months, six months, seven months ago, without any action, no better information on transport to Nigeria,” the male narrator in the video said.
“According to the rules and regulations of this location, we are not supposed to be here for more than two weeks.
“Most nationals of other countries have been flown back to their countries. Only we Nigerians don’t have any source or way of getting back.
“I’m here on behalf of others to seek your assistance to get us back to our country.”
“I spoke with one of the brothers and he told me that his brother was among the detainees,” the tweet said. “Part of them have ended their stays and do not have the ability to renew and the other does not have regular residencies.”
In her Friday tweet, Ms Abike Dabiri said “their evacuation was delayed due to issues relating to Covid-19.
“We appeal to Nigerians to resist traveling abroad without proper documents. It’s become very dangerous and more difficult”
NIDCOM has serially intervened in cases of stranded Nigerians abroad, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
In August, the agency helped to facilitate the evacuation of 261 Nigerians stranded in China.