The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) evacuated 215 stranded Nigerians from the Republic of Gabon to Nigeria on Sunday night.
The evacuation was necessitated when the Gabonese authorities issued an eviction notice to Nigerian fishermen living in Nende, Mouka and Kenza Islands to move away eventhough the majority of them had lived there for many decades.
The distressed returnees, who are mostly from Bayelsa State and a few from Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Imo and Abia states were flown to Port Harcourt International Airport before their onward journey to their respective home states.
The fishermen had signified their willingness to be returned with their families after the eviction notice.
Before the evacuation, the Nigerian government, through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies, had undertaken on-the-spot-assessment of the situation before a chartered aircraft was deployed for the evacuation.
In an effort to ensure full rehabilitation of the distressed Nigerians and to protect their belongings, NEMA would also ship their outboard engines, fishing nets and other working tools to Nigeria.
The respective state governments have been communicated on the development.
It is being speculated that this may lead to a diplomatic row between Gabon and Nigeria.