A Nigerian mother and her quadruplets are currently stranded in Dubai as a result of the ban on international flights.
On March 23, the federal government banned international flights to check the spread of COVID-19.
In an interview with CNN, Tijani Abdulkareem, 32-year-old husband of Suliyah, the new mother, said he made plans for his wife to relocate to Nigeria to give birth but the flight ban did not make it happen.
Abdulkareem, who shares a hostel accommodation in Dubai over his inability to rent a large apartment, said in January, he and his wife were informed that they would be having quadruplets.
He said since they were given a delivery date in August, they planned that the wife would depart to Nigeria in May but the flight ban had been in place by then.
“We thought the travel situation would improve … but the lockdown made it difficult to get flights,” he said.
Suliyah gave birth to the new babies, two boys and two girls on July 1. She had the babies via an emergency C-section at the Latifah Women and Children hospital in Dubai.
The premature delivery had also necessitated increased medical care for the babies.
According to Abdulkareem, who works as a cook at a restaurant in the city, Suliyah had stopped working as a hospital cleaner and this led to a reduction in the couple’s revenue source.
Although repatriation flights to Nigeria from Dubai are taking place, they are only few of them which are far between.
According to the report, the couple had incurred thousand of dollars in medical debt, as they owe about $120,000 and are incurring daily charges of $5,000 to keep the babies in separate incubators.
Doctors say the quadruplets may remain for another six weeks at the hospital before they can go home.
Abdulkareem said his family has 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,” he said.
According to the report, some UAE residents assisted the family to raise about $8,000 to offset part of the medical bill.
CNN quoted Abike Dabiri-Erewa, head of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, as saying the Nigerian embassy in Dubai has reached out to the family.
“The mission is on top of the matter and is in constant touch with the family,” she said.
AbdulKareem is now expecting a miracle to happen for his family to return to Nigeria.
“I never expected to have quadruplets. It is still a miracle. And I believe that can happen again to get my family to Nigeria,” he was quoted to have said.