Published On: Mon, Jul 23rd, 2018

Russia: Nigeria to arrest swindling travel agents

Travel agents accused of swindling Nigerians who travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup tournament are to be arrested and prosecuted.

Stranded Nigerians in Russia during their arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja on Friday.

The agents were reported to have cancelled the return tickets of Nigerian football fans and making them stranded after the 2018 tournament.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof. Steve Ugba, said in an online video on Sunday released in Abuja by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Tope Elias-Fatile.

Ugba spoke on the government’s position on the issue while addressing the stranded Nigerians in Moscow, Russia before their departure to Nigeria.

The stranded football fans besieged the Nigerian Embassy in Moscow on July 12, for assistance at the end of the 2018 World Cup tournament.

There were allegations that their return tickets were cancelled abruptly by airline agents, forcing the fans to remain in Russia without any hope of returning to the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 16, directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and his Aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika, to evacuate the Nigerians to Abuja immediately.

Sequel to the directive, a charter Ethiopian Airline on July 20th conveyed the 155 stranded Nigerians back to Abuja.

The envoy in the 21 minutes video expressed gratitude to the President Buhari for ensuring that the stranded fans return safely to the country.

Ugba who said that the Federal Government did not want the culprits to go free, urged the victims to produce any document they had to enable the government crackdown the agents.

“Give us any document that you have about the people who deceived you, or the people who scammed you, who did you 419 so that we can have them picked up and prosecuted in Nigeria.

“We do not want them to go free. So, any document you have that will tell us who these people are.

“We are waiting for them in Nigeria because the kind of behaviour that you exhibited here shows that you have character, shows that you have respect for yourselves, and shows that you have respect for Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, it is not a crime for you to come and want to watch football here. It is not a crime for you to come and know what Russia is all about.

“It is not a crime for you to come and at the end of the show, you want to go back. It is not a crime.

“But it is a crime for the person who sold you tickets and then, the second leg of going back you do not have tickets anymore. So, it is not your fault.

“We want to hold those responsible for this terrible behaviour to account for their action so that next time, they will not do the same,” he said.

Ugba said that the nation was proud of the stranded fans to have made out time to cheer the Super Eagles in Russia.

He said that the behaviour of the fans and the Super Eagles had earned Nigeria lots of friends in Russia. (NAN)

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