Malaysia accuses Nigeria of delaying plans to evacuate stranded Nigerians and return Malaysians stranded in Nigeria on same flight

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KUCHING MALAYSIA (9News Nigeria) – According to the report received from 9News Nigeria Malaysian correspondent today, Malaysian government is getting frustrated and thereby accusing Nigerian government of delay to facilitate diplomatic procedures required to allow Malaysians stranded in Nigeria due to Covid-19 restrictions to come back home.

It says that the Malaysian government is still waiting for the Nigerian government to finalise their standard operating procedures (SOP) and protocols as part of the arrangement to bring back Malaysians stranded in the country.

The report also detailed that a diplomatic arrangement was initiated by the two countries to facilitate the evacuation of Nigerians who are stranded in Malaysia and return Malaysians who also are stranded in Nigeria on the same chattered flight.

In confirmation of the report, The Malaysian Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said an arrangement was being worked out where Nigerians in Malaysia would also board a plane back to their home country and Malaysians who were stranded there would then take the same plane back to Malaysia.

Malaysian Airline
Malaysian Airline

“The current problem we face is that Nigeria has not finalised the standard operating procedures and protocols for the returning Nigerians,” said Wan Junaidi after handing over grants to cooperatives today at a Bank Raykat branch at Jalan Tun Jugah Kuching, Malaysia.

Although Malaysia could formulate the relevant SOPs and protocols within a week, Wan Junaidi said they were still waiting for their Nigerian counterpart on the latest developments but he expressed sympathy towards those who were stranded in Nigeria.

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“I understand some Malaysians are currently stranded on ships or oil rigs (due to Covid-19 pandemic) while working in Nigeria. Being stranded for a few months on a ship can be very difficult but we are trying the best we can,” he said.

Malaysian Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar
Malaysian Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

However, Wan Junaidi said it was better for Malaysians stranded in Nigeria to stay put there while being taken care of by their employers as the federal government tried to work out the arrangements.

He said this after informing that Turkish Airlines had been allowed to fly to Lagos – the most populous city of Nigeria – despite all flights being previously cancelled due to the closure of their airports.

“I was told that Turkish Airlines is now allowed to fly to Lagos. But how far can their flights travel? We don’t want a situation where Malaysians managed to leave Nigeria using the airline but later get stranded in Turkey. It’s better to stay put in Nigeria for now and being looked after by their employers.”

He said there were currently 56 Malaysians stranded in Nigeria while 13 of them were Sarawakians who mostly worked in the oil and gas industry.

Moreover, Wan Junaidi said currently there were about 24,000 Malaysians stranded abroad who wished to return and the federal government was “working very hard to bring them home.”

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