World Cup: How 80 Nigerians were scammed with $300 Fan IDs
About 80 Nigerian citizens have assembled near the Nigerian embassy in Moscow and are demanding that their diplomats help them return home, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.
The Nigerians came to Russia with Fan IDs and did not know that they would have to leave the country once the World Cup ends. According to them, back in Nigeria, the scammers sold them Fan IDs for $300 each, assuring the buyers that they could easily find work in Russia. On top of that, the scammers annulled the swindled fans’ return tickets. Now, after being left penniless and destitute, the victims have decided to ask the embassy employees for help.
One of the human rights organizations organized the demonstration outside the embassy.
“Currently there are 76 people, about 50 more are at the Domodedovo airport, and we estimate that 15 people are at Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo Airports. Currently, 200-400 people are on the streets or at a shelter in Lyublino,” human rights activist Oleg Melnikov told TASS.
“In Nigeria, they were told that they would find work as soon as they arrive, and these people were ready to do any type of work,” Melnikov continued.
“They live in all sorts of places, some have had enough money for hostels, some are at the airport, those who are richer bought tickets home and left, and those who are poorer – and they are the majority – are all unfortunately stuck here.”
The embassy promised to pay for a five-day hostel stay for all Nigerians in trouble, and to resolve the issue with the return tickets within that period of time. According to the human rights activists, only a two-day stay in three hostels has been paid currently, and if the situation does not change, they will return to the embassy.
However, not everyone is happy to go back home. Some want to stay in Russia in order to reach Germany later through various EU states, and request refugee status there.
“I’m a lawyer, and I have no chance of finding a normal job in Nigeria. I want to stay in Europe, leave for Poland and then reach Germany through other countries,” one of the protesters said. “I have no problem with the tickets, I have come here not to return home, but to assert my rights and attract the attention of Nigerian officials to the country’s problems.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has however rescued the 50 people stranded at one of the airports in Russia.