Posted by News Express | 3 January 2016 | 3,069 times
Foreign nationals numbering 758 who were stranded at Calabar Seaport following the breakdown of a vessel conveying them from Gabon to Benin Republic have been evacuated by road to their various countries
“The nationals from Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Guinea were forced to terminate their sea journey in Calabar when a passenger vessel named Emiliana-Carneiro made an emergency berthing at the port when one of the engines malfunctioned and a leakage on the floor of the ship was observed,” Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Deputy Director Public Affairs David Akate said.
Over 10 buses conveying the passengers were escorted by Nigeria Immigration Service personnel, police and other security agents.
While in the port facilities, the Cross River State Government, through SEMA, provided them with food, water, blankets, toiletries and health needs for the sick and pregnant women.
SEMA Director General, Mr. John Inaku, spent time interacting with people and wished them a safe transit to their various destinations.
Mr. Inaku commended the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, for the prompt response to the plight of the stranded foreigners by providing them with the essentials for their comfort while in the state.
Also speaking, Special Adviser to Governor on Special Duties, Mr. Victor Odo, said that he was pleased with the dexterity of the management and staff of SEMA in the administration of the essentials to the stranded passengers.
Reacting, Mohammed Buhari, 36, said that the gesture of the Cross River State Government was overwhelming and that the negative pictures painted about Nigeria abroad lacked merit. He described Nigerians as friendly, accommodating and sensitive to the wellbeing of human beings.
On his part, Abdulsalam Isa, 69, said that he was surprised that Nigeria could be so hospitable contrary to the wrong notion he had hitherto held. According to him, even though it was not the fault of the Nigerian Government that they made an emergency birthing in Calabar, it did not deter the government from showing humanitarian gestures and love by their approach and dexterity to their situation.
Other passengers who spoke with our correspondent said that though they were angry with the development which caused them to miss the celebration of the Yuletide with their families the action of the government and people of Nigerians has calmed their nerves as their interaction hah portrayed the people of Nigeria as wonderful, friendly and accommodating.
•Photo courtesy of Cross River SEMA shows the stranded foreigners being assisted to continue their journey.
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