A Nigerian woman who was recently delivered of quadruplets is stranded in Dubai due to coronavirus travel restrictions, the CNN has reported.
Suliyah AbdulKareem, 29, gave birth to the babies— two boys and two girls — on July 1 but was prevented from traveling home because of travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the public health emergency.
Her husband, Tijani Abdulkareem, 32, said they had planned to move her back to Nigeria to give birth after they found she was having quadruplets in January.
But then, the coronavirus pandemic struck and held the world in a tailspin many had not imagined, disrupting plans.
The couple, who live in Dubai, share a hostel accommodation with others.
Living with others with a bunch of new-born babies has been difficult as well as renting a bigger place with their combined income which sparsely suffices them, Mr Abdulkareem, who works as a cook at a restaurant in the city, told CNN.
The most preferred option was to return to Nigeria, he said.
The Nigerian government had banned all commercial international flights when the pandemic erupted in March, just after it recorded its index case.
Currently, Nigeria, like many countries, only allows diplomatic and essential flights into its airspace.
According to Mr Abdulkareem, travel restrictions frustrated their plans.
The father said they hoped that the travel restrictions would ease after the Nigerian government, in May, began evacuating its citizens from UAE and around the world.
“We thought the travel situation would improve … but the lockdown made it difficult to get flights,” he said.
They planned her departure to Nigeria in May, but a premature delivery of the babies who were delivered through an emergency C-section at the Latifah Women and Children hospital in Dubai, stalled the couple’s plan.
Not only that, with about $120,000 (approximately N47 million) debt and more hospital bills to pay, the babies’ arrival had unsettled the couple’s finances
The new father told CNN they have been relying on the goodwill of the hospital and the generosity of the Nigerian community in Dubai.
“The hospital has really helped us. They discharged my wife and are doing all they can to ensure that the babies are doing well. The Nigerian community has also been like a family to us,” Mr Abdulkareem said.
Meanwhile, while the Nigerian community in Dubai contributed about $8000 (approximately N3.1 million) to pay part of the family’s bills, the Nigerian government has said “it would look into the matter”.
The head of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the country’s embassy in Dubai had contacted the family.
“The mission is on top of the matter and is in constant touch with the family,” Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said.