As various governments around the world continue to take proactive steps in the repatriation of their citizens stranded abroad due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has boosted its effort with the evacuation of over 1000 Nigerians across different countries of the world; even as more nationals express their readiness to return back to the country.
According to the breakdown given by Amb. Geoffery Onyeama, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs during a recent daily Presidential Task Force briefing; 4 batches of Nigeria returnees have been evacuated from the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Saudi Arabia. He further assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is fast-tracking the arrival of other Nigerians stranded in other parts of the world.
While calling for patience, Onyeama during the briefing said, “There are Nigerians in India, China, South Africa, Sudan, UK, US, France and so on. I urge you all to continue to bear with us, be patient, because the reality is that we can only process a certain number at any given time”.
The Minister had previously asserted that the major challenges inhibiting rapid evacuation of over 4,000 Nigerians stranded abroad had been the limited accommodation spaces at the isolation centers, feeding expenses, and testing kits.
However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have both agreed to foot the bill by raising N1billion to assist in subsequent evacuation of Nigerian returnees.
The Foreign Affairs Minister believes the evacuees will now enjoy a better environment on their arrival. “I spoke with the GMD of the NNPC and he said he is going to consult and thanks be to God, he got back to me that he was going to meet with the Governor of the CBN and together they will fund these very important portions of accommodation and feeding of the evacuees”, the Minister stated.
Onyeama further disclosed that the Ministry has made all necessary arrangements with the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu for the interstate mobility of the first batch of returnees who might want to return home after completing their mandatory 14 days quarantine.
This will pave way for other stranded Nigerians abroad to be evacuated in the coming days, fulfilling the commitment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support Nigerian missions in fulfilling their responsibility to Nigerian citizens abroad.