Nigerian Fans Stranded In Russia After Failed Employment Promises
Image: Punch

More than 400 Nigerian football fans are stranded in Russia after failed promises of employment in the European nation.

According to Crime Russia, the fans, who were without money, spent the night close to the Nigerian Embassy in Mamontovsky Lane, Moscow, hoping to get their return flight tickets.

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Reports suggest that the Nigerians started complaining of being duped about two weeks ago.

Before the World Cup, the fans were told to get fan’s passport of the World Cup (Fan ID) for $300 and round-trip tickets.

The fans were said to have been told by the scammers that they would be employed in Russia but things went south as the scammers canceled their return tickets.

This meant that anyone willing to return to the country had to pay for his return ticket even as the scammers promised some of the fans a nice footballing career in Russia.

As the victims reached Moscow, they could not contact the supposed “employers” whose numbers were fake.

Their lodging and feeding could only last for about three days, leaving them stranded.

“The man told us that with the Fan ID, we could get a job and stay here,” Ismail Olamilekan, 21, and his brother, Sodiq, 25, told AFP at a hostel on the outskirts of Moscow, the Russian capital.

“But when we got here, we discovered that it was a fraud, that he had just collected the money and lied to us.”

They added that they paid N250,000 each to a man in Lagos for their Fan IDs.

According to them, they slept in the park until a fellow Muslim let them into his hostel until their return flight, July 22.

Some of the Nigerians squatting in the mosque are being fed by an anti-slavery body, Alternativa.

“The (Nigerian) embassy did not help, giving only contacts of volunteers from the Alternativa,” Crime Russia claims.

Also, on Thursday, some Nigerian fans got to the Sheremetyevo airport after being told that Turkish Airlines would take them back home.

The Nigerians were said to have stayed four hours at the airport before leaving with officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Russia.

At the Vnukovo Airport, 23 Nigerians stayed for about two weeks begging for money while sleeping in armchairs.

They were, however, complaints by passengers as human rights activists intervened in the matter.

It was was later on that volunteers started to give them food and drugs before they settled into hostels.

In the meantime, the Nigerian Embassy has weighed in on the issue and vowed to resolve it within five days.