Stranded Nigerians who have signified interest to be evacuated home due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, have been asked to pay for their two-week quarantine on arrival.
When Nigeria recorded its first case in February, Nigerians abroad asked to be evacuated home. The Federal Ministry of Health in April issued a statement saying it has started the process of evacuation and that those who wish to be evacuated will pay for their flight ticket and will also be placed on a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Some Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States and the United Kingdom have been evacuated and are currently isolation in Lagos and Abuja hotels at the expense of the government.
It appears the Federal government can no longer foot the bill as a new letter sent to stranded Nigerians says henceforth, they will pay their hotel and feeding bills once they arrive Nigeria and go into the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
A copy of the letter sent to Nigerians residing in the State of Kuwait by the Embassy of Nigeria on May 13, 2020, says the evacuees will pay N297,600 for their quarantine in Nigeria apart from the airfares.
The letter, titled “Re: Request for evacuation of Nigerian nationals in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, reads in part
Further to our notice of 5th April 2020 on the above mentioned subject matter, the Embassy wishes to inform that all intending evacuees are to pay for their quarantine/isolation/accommodation/centre/hotels before departure and arrival in Nigeria.
The negotiated rate is as follows: Accommodation-N240,000 (N15,000 x16 days); Feeding-N57,6009( N3,600 x 16 days). Total- N297,600 (N18,600 x16 days).
All evacuees are to pay the aforementioned amount for their quarantine/isolation/centre/hotels directly to the airline along with their tickets. Evacuees have option to pay in dollars or its equivalent in Naira.
It is important to note that evacuees that do not pay for their quarantine/isolation/accommodation/ centre/ hotels will not be allowed to board the flight.”
A letter dated 14th May and sent to Nigerians via the Embassy of Nigeria in Bangkok, Thailand, and signed by the Head of Chancery, Nicholas P. Uhomoibhi, reads in part
“I am directed to bring to your attention due to measures that are beyond the control of COVID-19 local organizing team in Nigeria, all evacuees going to Nigeria henceforth are to now pay for their quarantine, isolation, accommodation centre or hotels before departure and arrival in Nigeria
In this regard, all prospective evacuees are to note the negotiated rate below: Accommodation (N15,000 x16 days=N240,000) and Feeding (N3,600 x16 days=N57,600). Total: N297,600 at N18,600 x16 days”
Kindly be informed that these rates were negotiated in Nigeria and that the Embassy has been instructed not to airlift any evacuee who fails to pay the above fee.”