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Relief for stranded Nigerians as Russia announces visa-free entry for visitors with “fan ID”

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Some form of respite has come their way after Putin’s announcement on Sunday

Nigerians who have thronged the country’s embassy in Russia after getting stranded can finally heave a sigh of relief, after Russia’s president Vladmir Putin announced that foreign visitors with “fan ID” cards from the just-concluded World Cup will be granted visa-free entry for the rest of 2018.

Several stranded Nigerian football fans had resorted to sleeping outside the embassy in Russia, with many of them telling sad tales about how they were scammed into buying return tickets that turned out to be fake.

Some of them, however, had gone to Russia during the World Cup with hopes of finding jobs and staying there, but their hopes were dashed after realising they would need proper visa documents to be able to stay in the country.

The fan IDs that allowed ticket-holders to enter Russia during the World Cup had originally been scheduled to expire on July 25.

Some form of respite has come their way, however, after Putin’s announcement on Sunday.

“Foreign supporters who currently have fan IDs will be able to benefit from multiple entries into the Russian Federation without a visa until the end of the year,” state-run TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying on July 15.

The tournament drew fans from throughout the world, and Putin said that “naturally, I cannot do otherwise but to thank our guests – foreign tourists, foreign fans.”

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