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COVID-19: Nigeria accepts to subsidise evacuation fare of nationals abroad


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CHAIRMAN, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa on Tuesday disclosed that ticket fare to evacuate Nigerians from the United Kingdom would be subsidised.

She disclosed this in a tweet in reaction to repeated concerns from Nigerians both home and abroad, particularly in the UK.

Some of the aggrieved persons had wondered why the Federal Government could not be responsible for the fare, stressing that intervention by Air Peace during the South Africa Xenophobic attacks could best be described as evacuation rather than the recent claim by the government.

Abike Dabiri Erewa response to subsidizing fares on 14th April, 2020 via her verified twitter handle

But Dabiri insisted that the decision to subsidise the fares was not hers but a cabinet member. She argued that all countries charged their citizens abroad before any evacuation process.

“Decision by the Minister. All countries charged. I don’t know of any country that carried free. However, the fares will be subsidized,” she stated.

Dabiri-Erewa had on 3 April, announced the conditions that interested Nigerians abroad must satisfy before being eligible to be evacuated back home. These include that they must be COVID-19 negative and should be willing to stay under quarantine for 14 days after return.

They would as well shoulder the flight costs involved.

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Nigerians won’t pay N160,000 for COVID-19 test – NIDCOM

It could be recalled that The ICIR earlier reported on how Nigerians in the UK were advised to patronise a private laboratory in order to have their COVID-19 tests and were subsequently charged £350 pounds until the firm backed out after alleged extortion.

The report also revealed how the UK government made the test free for all persons irrespective of status, either living in the UK illegally or otherwise.

However, Abdur-Rahaman Balogun, NIDCOM Head of Media and Public Relations debunked the claims.

In addition to his response to The ICIR, he maintained in a statement issued yesterday, April 13 that Nigerian nationals were at liberty to patronise either private or public laboratories for the  test.

“…so it is totally wrong to assume that the Nigerian government has ordered citizens in the UK to pay N160,000 for COVID-19 test as precondition or evacuation.”

The COVID-19 pandemic since it broke out in Wuhan China has killed 10 persons in Nigeria, and 91 patients have been discharged  from 343 confirmed cases.

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A few Nigerians in the UK have also died as a result of the global pandemic.

Globally, 113,675 deaths have been recorded among  1,812,734 confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection in 213 countries.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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