The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Friday directed all its missions abroad to compile lists of willing nationals who want to return home to Nigeria. This was sequel to the request by Nigerians stranded abroad in the wake of the Corona virus pandemic. Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO of the Nigeria in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), made the disclosure in a statement signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head, Media and Public Relations Unit of the commission in Abuja.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, the interested Nigerians are advised to inform the missions in the various countries they are in, who will then collate and coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She however, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had instructed that the financial implications would be borne by the prospective evacuees, who will be compulsorily quarantined when they returned.
The NIDCOM chairman urged Nigerians stranded abroad willing to return home to key into this Federal Government gesture by providing their information to the mission in their respective host countries. She said that while embassies in several countries were also on lockdown, those interested could also go online and fill a form provided on the commission’s website: Form101 Nigerians in Diaspora Commission
The federal government had earlier said it was pondering the option of evacuating many Nigerians that are stranded outside the country as a result of the escalation in the global cases of coronavirus infection.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema gave this hint in Abuja when the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefed the media on the containment of the pandemic.
Onyema said the federal government had raised concerns about the plight of stranded Nigerian citizens. The disease, which has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has disrupted the global aviation industry and has forced many countries to shut their borders. The minister said government had put its foreign missions in the know about the plan and has asked them to verify the number of those affected.