Nigeria ambassador vows to get stranded Super Eagles fans home

Ambassador of Nigeria to Russia Steve Davies Ugbah speaks with Nigerians in front of Nigerian embassy in Moscow. Fraudsters have tricked scores of Nigerians by selling them football World Cup fan passes to travel to Russia. VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria's ambassador to Russia, Professor Stephen Davies Ugbah, has vowed to make sure the fans stranded in Moscow after the World Cup are seen safely home.

Two batches of Nigerians, stranded after being scammed by fraudsters and unethical travel agents, have already left for home on the margins of the World Cup final.

About 60 of the approximately 250 visitors were flown home in two groups over the weekend when Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Nigeria's Lagos State, helped provide financial resources to pay for their plane tickets

The Nigerians had arrived in Russia, some to watch the World Cup and others to find jobs, only to discover they had been scammed. Some are reported to have spent seven nights sleeping at the airport.

Prof. Ugbah told KweséESPN that the embassy was not initially aware of their plight, but took action as things came to their notice.

"We were not aware that they had been sleeping at the airport for seven days, but the moment we were made aware of their situation, we immediately took steps to bring them in," he said.

"We are working with our government back home to mobilize resources quickly and wrap this up quickly to get them back home the best way we can and in the most efficient way we can.

"We are working with the Russian authorities and the airline, Turkish Airlines to see how soon we can get them back to Nigeria.

"But the one thing we didn't want to see happen to our citizens was to see them sleeping on the streets, for them to become public charges.

"We wanted them to be put on secure places and secure basic amenities before the final solution, which was to take them back to Nigeria."

This wasn't the first trouble Nigeria fans had experienced at the World Cup. After the country's group stage exit, around 100 people were stuck in Kaliningrad after their visas proved insufficient to get them back to Moscow, as they were not authorised to pass through Lithuania and Latvia on the train.