Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, says 200 Nigerians living in the United States have shown interest to leave the US and return back home following the COVID-19 Pandemic. The US is the highest risk country at the moment. The minister revealed this on Wednesday, April 8th during a presidential taskforce briefing on COVID-19.
According to the minister, the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari has made adequate plans and built Isolation centres for Nigerians in the diaspora who are willing to return back to Nigeria. He stated that the US is a high-risk country of the pandemic and one of the worst-hit by the virus, over 200 Nigerians have signed up for the evacuation in the United States.
“The presidential task force under the chairmanship of the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) has actually been engaging with this when there was a closure of the airport. So, the response was not as a result of letters coming in from Nigerians in the diaspora as has been mentioned in some media houses.
At that time, we did not have all our isolation centres in place and all the other logistical arrangements in place. So for that reason, we’ve kept it in abeyance while we were putting all those things in place and hence now, we have sufficient beds and so forth and protocol is no well established, and we now feel much stronger and in a better position to undertake this herculean task of trying to see how we can bring Nigerians outside the country back into the country.
In that context, we’ve now started to get great numbers of Nigerians especially in the United States where almost 200 have now indicated and are willing to return. We are engaging with our embassies in China and the high commission in London and also in France to work out all the logistics. Things are now falling in place, and we are getting a sense of what needs to be done.” he said
The minister also said 67 Nigerians, travelling through the land from neighbouring countries were on their way to Nigeria.
Onyeama, however, said the travellers would be isolated before allowing them freedom.
“We have 67 Nigerians including children and women. They were in Cote D’ivoire and we needed to engage with the government of Togo, the government of Benin for them to be able to go through. And they are now at the Nigerian border and we got the authorisation for them to come into the country and they would be in isolation for the mandatory 14 days,” he said.