Balinese migrant worker, spa therapist dies in Nigeria but family doesn’t have enough money to repatriate body

Ubud woman, Ni Wayan Sriani. Photo: Istimewa

The body of a Balinese migrant worker is not be able to get sent home because the family does not have the money to cover the costs of repatriation.

Ubud woman Ni Wayan Sriani, 38, died of a stroke in Nigeria on Wednesday, her husband, Gusti Nyoman Putra, 51, told reporters on Tuesday.

Sriani had been working as a spa therapist in a hotel in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.

Putra says he learned about the sad news online.

“A friend there told me on Facebook that my wife died, after falling in the bathroom,” he told the Bali Post.

The cost of sending his wife’s body would run about IDR120 million (US$9,093). The fee would include two people escorting her body home.

“If I sent the body alone, it would be about US$3,000. But it’s not possible for the body to be flown by itself,” he said.

Communicating with the embassy in Nigeria, Putra said if his wife’s body wasn’t to be repatriated, then she must be buried or cremated there. As a Hindu, the woman should be cremated, but her family could not afford to have it done, says Putra.

“Because of the cost, we finally agreed to bury the body there. We do not have that much money. If cremated there, we also cannot, because the cost is IDR60 million (US$4,546). So we were forced to have my wife’s body buried there.”

Meanwhile, the family will still be performing a Hindu funeral ceremony in Ubud, just without the body, says Putra.

Sriani hadn’t been home to Bali in the past three years, according to her husband. This is her second contract in Nigeria; she had previously worked one year there, starting in 2013. 

Putra alleges Sriani’s salary often came late and that she had intentions to come back to Bali. She worked abroad with the intention of being able to send money home to her family, but because of her stalled salary, she hadn’t sent anything home in years.

“Through communicating (on video call), my wife often said she wanted to come home but was still waiting for her salary to get disbursed from her boss there. Often her salary would come late, even up to five months of work unpaid.”

Sriani also apparently had issues with her visa and eventually became an illegal worker abroad, says Putra.

AA Dalem Jagadhita, from the Gianyar Office of Migration and Manpower confirmed Putra’s story and said the office was in communication with the Indonesian embassy in Nigeria.

When asked whether the government could bear the balance of the woman’s repatriation, Jagadhita said his office was looking into it, but Sriani’s status as an illegal worker wouldn’t help things.

In addition to her husband, Sriani is survived by a nine-year-old daughter.

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