Some Nigerians who were stranded in Pakistan alleged that the Nigerian Embassy obtained $1,400 Dollars from them each and dumped them at the airport over COVID-19 lockdown.
The victims who cried out to the Nigerian Government to come to their aid by rescuing them back to Nigeria or direct the Ambassador to refund their monies.
Their woes were said to have started after the Ambassador, Major General Ashimiyu Adebayo Olaniyi (Rtd), issued a statement to Nigerians living in Pakistan who wish to go back to Nigeria to pay the money as traveling expenses because the Federal Government has provided flight arrangement for those who may wish to go back to Nigeria.
Unknown that it may be fraud, some Nigerians who wished to come back paid the money including Gerald Anozie, Obinna Obimadu and Chinedu Ogbonna and a date was fixed. They were asked to come to the airport where they were eventually dumped.
The embassy then claimed that they do not have valid visas to travel back to Nigeria contrary to the conditions they gave before they paid the money which involved valid passports.
When the victims asked for the refund of their money, the Embassy claimed that the money was not refundable and they should bear the loss. Since then, the victims had remained trapped in Pakistan.
Narrating what happened, one of the victims, Anozie, said that the Immigration kept asking them when they wanted to go back, that they did not travel until the offer came from the Nigeria Embassy.
“Our Embassy never informed us that those eligible to travel were those whose visas expired between December 2019 and June 18, 2020. We paid for the flight on the 16th June, 2020, while departure was on June 18, 2020. When the airline refused to carry us, we went straight to airlines counter for the refund of our money. The Tarco Aviation airline said that we should approach our Embassy to authorize the refund.” On approaching our Embassy, the Ambassador told us that it was a chartered flight and there was no refund of money after payment which we were not told before payment”, he alleged.
He said that they received the information through the Nigeria community before they paid the money and they were turned back because they did not have valid visas but the Embassy had said it was only valid passports that were required. And because the message was from the Embassy, they believed it and paid the money not knowing it was fraud.
They are therefore appealing to the Federal Government to call the Embassy to order by asking them to refund their monies to them.
When our correspondent contacted the Embassy, their known numbers were switched off.
Copy of the message purportedly released from the Embassy: read ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. “We wish to bring to your notice that the air ticket for those intending travellers is approximately *$1400* *(One Thousand Four Hundred U.S. Dollars)*
Also those returning back to Nigeria, will present Coronavirus free certificate done five (5) days before departure, However evacuation dates are still 15, 16, 17 of June 2020 and it’s for people with Valid passports only for now.
*Any further updates shall be communicated to you promptly. For further information, please contact the President of the community or the Secretary General”.