Since July 1 when the two pairs of boys and girls were born, Abdulkareem, 32, says they have been hoping to catch a flight back home “but the lockdown made it difficult to get flights”.
CNN reports that Abdulkareem had tried to fly Suliyah to Nigeria when it became apparent that she was going to have the quadruplets. The couple lives in a hostel in Dubai and the cost of renting a bigger place was clearly going to overwhelm them.
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But after recording the country’s first case, the Nigerian government shut its borders to commercial flights in March. There have been a few repatriation flights for stranded citizens in some countries but they are hard to catch.
Suliyah was expected to have her babies in August but they were born premature. Now, the couple have to spend $5,000 daily to keep the babies in separate incubators.
Now, they have racked up bills of more than $120,000. But Abdulkareem says the hospital has been mindful of their circumstances and “has really helped us”.
Suliyah has been discharged but since neither parent can work, Abdulkareem and Suliyah are relying on the support of the Nigerian community in the United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria’s repatriation efforts have not been without a few dramatic bumps.
In May, a Nigerian woman on board a plane that was repatriating about 264 of her compatriots from the United Arab Emirates gave birth mid-air en route to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
The mother and child are now reportedly in good health while efforts are being made to re-enplane those who are willing and able to go back home.