Bring our stranded brothers home

By Lian Cheng and Nancy Nais

KUCHING, June 3: There are 13 Sarawakians, including 12 Ibans, among the 30 Malaysians stranded in Lagos, Nigeria.

Malcolm Goh, 39, the stranded Sarawakian who stepped forward to share their predicament openly in social media said he did not have the Sarawakian list but this is what he could make out from the participants list in a WhatsApp group shared by all Malaysians working there.

Following months of fruitless waiting and building frustration, some fellow Malaysians he said had left the chat group.

“We have a chat group among ourselves and some of them are so frustrated that they have left the group. I am worried that they might end up doing something silly such as crossing the border illegally just to reach home.

“All that we want is for the relevant authorities to expedite the repatriation process so that we can go home. We hope the Malaysian government will continue to try their very best to get us out of here, ” Goh told DayakDaily when contacted via WhatsApp call.

Goh clarified that the 30 over Malaysians working near Lagos, Nigeria were not conned by their employers as asserted by some locals since the news of Goh and other Malaysians stranded in Lagos made the rounds on social media.

“We are professionals engaged under legal contracts and our employers take good care of us. We are very well except that we can’t go home and we just want to go home.”

“We are stranded because Nigeria government called for a lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and closed the Lagos Airport. There is no flight going out or coming in except chartered flight.”

Goh has been in Nigeria since Feb 7 and was supposed to board a flight back to Malaysia on April 5. However, due to the closure of the airport and cancellation of flights, he found himself stuck there with no promise of a return in near future.

Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Nigeria, with numbers of confirmed cases in the hundreds every day since May. It seems that without government intervention, these stranded Malaysians might have to stay put indefinitely.

Goh considers himself better off, however, than some of his Malaysian mates who are trapped and forced to stay on a vessel or an oil rig for more than six months now.

“There is a Malaysian who has been on the vessel since December. This is no joke. It is stressful for a person to stay on a vessel or an oil rig for more than six months. I have seen people jump off the rig because the stress is too much to take.”

Goh understood that the Malaysian High Commission in Nigeria has been trying their best to help them secure a flight home but in face of an almost global lockdown, to get a flight back is not easy.

To continue to remind the relevant authorities not to give up on them, Goh made a video on his social media page. It is his deepest hope that somehow, somewhere, someone might sympathise with them and go all out to bring them back.—DayakDaily