Sunday, 23 July 2017

Saudi Arabia Repatriates 198 Nigerians Granted Amnesty for Living in the Country Illegally

On Saturday, July 22, 2017, at least198 Nigerians who have been living illegally in Saudi Arabia returned to the country.

 At the moment, the government of Saudi Arabia has offered a 90-days amnesty period for illegal immigrants to return to their countries or face sanctions like fines, jail terms and deportation.  

 The amnesty had been due to expire on June 25 but it was extended by 30 more days and according to experts, more than a thousand Nigerians are expected to return under the amnesty offer.  

According to Reuters, Saudi Arabia ordinarily prescribe a fine of 15,000 riyals (about N1.3 million) and a jail term of 2 months before deporting persons convicted of illegal entry into the country, if a first offender. Persons who commit the offence subsequently are liable to a fine of 100,000 riyals (about N8.5 million) and 6 months in prison with deportation.

In March 2017, the Kingdom began the implementation of a 90-day amnesty programme for illegal immigrants, allowing such persons to voluntarily leave the country without consequences. Beneficiaries of the amnesty would be able to return to the Kingdom on the condition of pursuing legal methods to gain entry.

The first batch of 198 Nigerian beneficiaries repatriated to Nigeria on Saturday were received by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Mohammed Yahaya-Sani, the Consular at the Nigerian Consulate in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, who led the illegal immigrants to Nigeria, told newsmen at the airport that the Federal Government sponsored their return.

According to him, the illegal migrants voluntarily reported to the Nigerian Embassy to be returned to Nigeria in compliance with the three months evacuation notice issued to them by Saudi authorities, which will expire on July 24.

 The Federal Government sponsored the return of those who arrived in Kano on Saturday.

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