Dozens of defrauded Nigerians descend on their embassy in Moscow, desperate to return home

Meduza

More than 70 Nigerian citizens gathered at their country’s embassy in Moscow on Friday to complain that they were deceived into attending the World Cup on the promise that they could work while in Russia.

The leader of a volunteer group told the magazine RBC that the first Nigerian tourists started reporting scammers as early as two weeks ago. They were reportedly sold “fan IDs” for $300 and round-trip tickets, and told they could earn money while in Moscow. When they arrived in the Russian capital, however, they learned that their documents don’t allow them to work, and the scammers quickly canceled their return tickets.

On Thursday, a false rumor started spreading among the Nigerians in Moscow that Turkish Airlines had arranged a flight to take them home, but they were turned away at Sheremetyevo Airport, and police vans delivered them to the Nigerian embassy. More than 70 stranded tourists gathered at the embassy on Friday, and another several hundred are spread across the country.

The newspaper Kommersant previously reported that foreigners have tried to use “soccer fan passports” to find work or even apply for asylum in Russia. People from African countries have apparently been especially eager to use Russia’s simplified visa process during the World Cup.