Stranded Nigerian football fans camped on the floor outside the country’s embassy in Moscow have been ordered home by President Muhammadu Buhari, his aide said.
Around 200 Nigerians became stranded in Russia following the World Cup as they did not have a return ticket home, authorities said.
They had gone to support the national Super Eagles team, but some also planned to settle in Russia after the tournament. Buhari has ordered the Minister of Aviation and Foreign Ministry to bring the fans back home, the President’s Senior Special Assistant, Garba Shehu said.
Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode was also forced to step in last week to cover the return expenses of around 50 of the fans.
Two brothers Ismail and Sodiq Olamilekan said they paid N250,000 naira ($800) each to a man in Lagos for their Fan IDs. They said they planned to become professional footballers in Russia.
“The man told us that with the Fan ID we could get a job and stay here,” Ismail told AFP at a hostel on the outskirts of Moscow. “But when we got here we discovered that it was a fraud, that he had just collected the money and lied to us,” he said.
Rafiu Ladipo, of the Nigerian Supporters Club, told CNN: “Some of those who traveled for other reasons beyond the World Cup did so in ignorance and believing that Europe is all rosy and everything becomes available as soon as you touch down.”