By Fortune Abang
The Federal Government on Tuesday handed over 200 returnees of Kano origin from Saudi Arabia to the State Government.
Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, the Director of Consular and Legal Department, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who delivered the returnees in Abuja, said the exercise started on Jan. 28, 2021.
According to him, the government has put measures in place to give them a new lease of life.
Akinremi said: “They were 389 returnees from Saudi Arabia, followed by 425 and later lesser number of 39; today we have 1,319 altogether on the FCT Muslim Hajj Camp Ground.
“These are those who came in different batches, we have had a batch of over 300 or 400 three times and then we have the small pocket here and there.
“We are at the point of rounding up; the stage we are now is to discharge a couple of those whose Coronavirus (COVID-19) results have come out.
“They will be here for seven days and after that they will do their tests.
“We changed from the usual testing to the rapid one, which provides results the same day and that helps us to discharge the following day, and we have been discharging regularly.”
He explained that after the last round of COVID- 19 tests, everybody still on the camp ground would be handed over to their respective state governments, while commending the FCT Health Sector and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for their collaboration.
Receiving the returnees, Hajiya Hama Aware, the Director General of Kano Investment Promotion Agency and Diaspora expressed appreciation to the Federal Government and Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) for their support.
Aware, also Focal Person of NIDCOM to Kano, said such efforts ensured that the returnees were handled with care.
“On behalf of the Governor of Kano, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, we say thank you to all these teams that put things in place to cater for all the returnees.
“We had more than 1,000 Kano citizens that have returned from Saudi Arabia; Kano had the largest number of returnees among others currently with over 310 citizens.
“So far, some of them have left, but we were here on Saturday, Feb. 6, to take their data.
“We have over 150 Kano citizens that are still in the camp and we are here with vehicles provided by the Kano government to carry our citizens back to the state,” she said.
She disclosed that necessary measures had been deployed by the state government to support the returnees to arrive home safely and also sensitise them against illegal migration.
Meanwhile, a returnee, Mrs Halima Shaibu, narrated her ordeal to have been in terms of coping with work, lack of access to local delicacy and incessant restrictions in that country.
Shaibu said: “I did not have much challenge, except for workload, lack of Nigerian made food and that Police can arrest people in that country without official identity or international passport.” (NAN)