The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to commence the repatriation of 508 Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia, beginning from Wednesday.
This is sequel to the clampdown on illegal immigrants by the Saudi authorities after the expiration of the four months amnesty given them to regularise their stay.
Nigeria's Consul-General in Jeddah, Amb. Ahmed Umar, on Tuesday, stated in Abuja that the 508 Nigerians were those who voluntarily decided to return home.
He recalled that the repatriation, earlier scheduled to begin on Dec. 22, was stalled when the aircraft that was meant to convey them developed technical problems on the eve of their departure.
Umar commended the federal government's generosity in repatriating those who chose to return home. "The federal government responded promptly to the need of those Nigerians who indicated their desire to return home.
"The consulate had provided items such as food, blankets and other needs for women and children.
"The consulate had maintained round the clock presence with the deportees to ensure that all their immediate needs were met, including medical attention.
"The sick were regularly taken to the clinic located within the facility for instant examination and treatment." Umar explained.
He said the arrest of illegal immigrants including Nigerians in that country was still going on.
"Out of those arrested by the Saudi authorities 1,150 had been transported home by the Saudi government," the consul-general said.
Last month, Nigeria's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Amb. Abubakar Bunu, told NAN that an estimated one million Nigerians lived and worked in the country, although it remained unknown how many were illegal.
He observed that not many Nigerians had come forward to seek consular help since the crackdown began, and warned that those staying illegally could face arrest and detention, if caught. (NAN)