FOREIGN minister Geoffrey Onyeama has warned Nigerians living abroad that if they want to return to the country on account of the global coronavirus pandemic it will not be free of charge and they will have to pay for the privilege.
With the global pandemic showing no signs of abating, Nigerians who were trapped abroad have expressed a willingness to return home. Several nations have evacuated their citizens across the globe and Nigeria has expressed a willingness to do this too, especially after the recent revelation that China was being discriminatory in the way it treated Africans.
Already, several missions have asked Nigerians willing to be evacuated to forward their details and it is believed that special flights will be chartered to fly them back. However, Mr Onyeama has warned that this service will not be free, pointing out that such Nigerians will have to pay for their flight ahead of the evacuation.
It is not yet clear what the Nigerian government plans to do regarding those who might not be able to afford a return ticket. A recent video showing about 100 Nigerians being evicted from their homes and hotels in Guangzhou by the Chinese authorities last week, went viral, putting pressure on the Nigerian government to evacuate them.
Apart from the fact that the prospective evacuees will have to bear the cost of travel, they will also be compulsorily quarantined upon their arrival. In response to the foreign ministry directive, the Nigerian consulate in New York and the high commission in the UK have already begun compiling names of Nigerians willing to return home.
So far, the number of Nigerians interested in returning home total over 2,000 individuals who have enrolled for evacuation. It is expected that they will be returned before the end of the month.