The fate of Cameroonians stranded in Dubai remains uncertain as accusations and counter accusations are being traded.
As international borders were closed to stifle the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, life became difficult for Cameroonians in Dubai and they started seeking ways to return home.
Mimi Mefo Info understands that the stranded Cameroonians had cornered the country’s consulate in Dubai to negotiate a chartered flight to take them home.
The consulate is said to have bought the idea and immediately set out to do the negotiations.
But matters became messy, MMI is told, when the consular officer announced that the weight of luggage per passenger on board the chattered flight had been considerably reduced.
Given that many who are stranded had gone for trade purposes and bought a lot of goods, things seem to be taking an ugly twist.
“I’m one of the people who want to go home but due to the fact that the weight of our luggage was reduced, I can’t go because I just loaded my container three weeks ago and the things I have with me here can’t be left behind,” one of those concerned told MMI.
Recalling that the Cameroon government had earlier chattered a flight to repatriate nationals wishing to go home, we are told that pregnant women were not prioritized despite their pleas.
“The repatriation flight the government sent last time was meant to be free but so many people paid money to the consulate general to get into that flight. I know two ladies who went pleading to the consulate for weeks that they can’t bear the cost of having their babies delivered here. The consulate general refused because he was keeping space to sell to his native people. Those ladies gave birth here and I’m one of those who did a contribution in order to support their delivery,” the concerned Cameroonian in Dubai explained to Mimi Mefo Info.
Government had disbursed 750 AED (about FCFA 119,239) for each individual on the special repatriation flight. It is however alleged that they received only 300 AED (about FCFA 47,695) from the hands of the consulate general.
Cameroonians desperate to return home after all
In another twist, another concerned local told MMI that the consulate had fixed the cost per person on board the chartered flight at 2000AED and but they had already paid 2355AED, wondering why others claim the flight had been made expensive.
They only regret that weeks after paying in money for the said travel, “we haven’t gotten any lucrative information about the chartered flights. They’re pregnant women, elderly, business and sick people wishing to go back to Cameroon. The government should do something about it because it’s not been easy.”
One of those stranded told MMI that: “Out of good faith, after months of pleading to the Consulate to help the suffering stranded citizens willing to go home, the Consulate took upon itself the initiative to help. While the process was on going smoothly and well organized, some individuals of bad faith took it upon themselves to destroy the hard work of the Consulate and its Citizens here by feeding the public with unfounded information.”
The delay in the flight is said to have worsened the situation of the stranded Cameroonians in Dubai who are said to be in their hundreds, with some unable to feed or pay rents because many lost their jobs.
“Worst is the fact that some of the pregnant women here amongst many have put to birth here against their wish because the unfounded allegations being made against the Consulate destroyed the trust making them not to continue with the plan of helping us,” yet another person said. “Right now as we speak, the frustration of our own fellow brothers and sisters here in the UAE is at extremes all because some people of bad faith who were unable to pay for their flights opted to destroy everything.”
The Consul General and his Vice are credited by some to have been taking measures to have stranded Cameroonians return home “Since day one, they have acted as parents seeking the best for their children,” MMI is told.
In the wake of the mix up, the consulate general is said to be nursing plans of refunding those who had paid to be on board the special chartered flight. Cameroonians in Dubai are therefore calling on the Minister of External Relations, the Prime Minister and the Head of State to intervene and have them flown back to Cameroon.
Mimi Mefo Info