Sequel to influx of some Nigerians to Lebanon to work, Amb. Houssam Diab, the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria said on Thursday that the Embassy has suspended issuing working visas to Nigerians seeking domestic work in Lebanon.
He told the visiting Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa in his Abuja office that the mission had suspended the issuance since May 1.
Amb. Diab stated that the suspension started since May 1, following the video of Peace Busari, a Nigerian lady, auctioned by a non-Lebanese person on Social media in April this year, went viral.
He said the suspension was to stem the tide for such categories of workers pending the time the procedure would be properly harmonise with the Ministry of Labour modalities.
Thus far, the Ambassador said the Lebanese government in conjunction with the Lebanese community in Nigeria had brought back 69 out of 79 Nigerians allegedly stranded and abused by their bosses back to the country.
He explained that the remaining 10 Nigerians, who would be transported home soon after the Covid-19 lockdown, have some cases to answer and would be repatriated home once they are through with their cases.
He clarified that the Embassy and the Lebanese community paid over $150,000 USD to evacuate the 69 Nigerians and also paid for their 14 days quarantine, added that they were not trafficked nor went to Lebanon illegally but were abused by their employers who also breached the working agreement and did not have money to bring them back.
The Ambassador regrettably said though some of them did not want to come back to Nigeria despite their challenges but preferred to change their work place to be able to pay up their agents who facilitated their coming.
Earlier, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said she came to know when the remaining 10 Nigerians would be brought back into the country to start a new life and stressed the need for some level of awareness.
She said the Commission is working out an arrangement with the Ministry of Labour to model it after the phillippines working scheme where verification and certification must be provided between agents, employers and prospective employees, to prevent further unfortunate cases.
She added that a platform should be available for aggrieved domestic staff to lay complaints, legally.
The NiDCOM Chairman commended the Ambassador for his assistance especially in evacuating 69 Nigerians and the safe release of the Nigerian lady who was advertised for sale on social media.
Dabiri-Erewa however said it became necessary for the public to know that the girl refused to come back to Nigeria but preferred to renegotiate with another employer in Lebanon and has since gained employment there.
Highlight of the meeting include a resolution for both the Lebanese Ambassador and the Chairman, NiDCOM, to work for the growth and development of both the Nigerian and Lebanese Diaspora.