Hull security guard trapped in Nigeria six months after arriving for three-week holiday

A Hull security guard, who is a familiar face in Princes Avenue, says he has been stranded in Nigeria for six months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Mathew Nwaobi’s used to live in Nigeria but moved to the city 27 years ago where he studied at the university. He still makes sporadic returns to west Africa to visit, however his latest excursion has lasted much longer than he could have ever imagined.

Mr Nwaobi left his wife and two children behind at their Glasgow Street home for a three-week trip but, just a short time into his stay, the world was plunged into the coronavirus crisis. Nigeria has an official death toll of just over 1,000 with around 50,000 cases known so far. The nation’s government imposed a block on international flights entering the country in a bid to clamp down on the virus, with UK passengers barred from as early as March 18 – three days after Mathew arrived.

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For obvious reasons, he has been unable to work meaning Hullensians will not have seen him guarding Sainsbury’s in Princes Avenue or a number of other stores in which he works.

Describing his situation, Mr Nwaobi said: “I have travelled since March 15 on just a three-week holiday. It has been a very difficult time staying above my budgeted time. “I am a resident of Hull but blocked in Nigeria because of the pandemic.

“Nigeria airports are closed for now for international flights not to come in. I’m okay health wise.

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“Everything was boring because I left Nigeria 27 years ago and have never stayed in Nigeria for such a long time as now. “Hopefully I will be coming home soon because Nigeria airport’s will be opening on September 6, being Saturday.”

Mathew hopes to be back with his family and in his home city as soon as possible.

Flights had been due to restart on August 29 but the latest Foreign Office advice suggests that they should recommence from the cities of Abuja and Lagos on Saturday.

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