Nigerians stranded in Thailand,Turkey and Kuwait and preparing for evacuation are to pay N297,000 for quarantine, being cost of food and hotel accommodation before their airlift back to Nigeria.
The Nigerian government had begun evacuation of its stranded citizens from overseas following the outbreak of the coronavirus that has killed over 304,000 people in the world. But the government had said citizens would pay for cost of their evacuation. It expressed this in new guidelines to Nigerian embassies and high commissions stating Nigerians wishing to return home would henceforth pay for their quarantine, isolation, accommodation or hotel before departure and arrival in the country.
Reports said the revised rule was informed by the government’s seeming inability to afford the cost of taking care for two weeks, of the estimated 4,000 Nigerians who have indicated interest to return.
In a letter dated May 14, 2020, which went viral online, the Embassy of Nigeria in Bangkok, Thailand, gave a breakdown of the cost of quarantine to include N57,600 as cost of feeding and N240,000 as cost of hotel accommodation, making a total of N297,600 per evacuee.
The letter signed by Nicholas Uhomoibhi, head of chancery for the Ambassador, stated, “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.”
Also, another letter sent to all Nigerians in Turkey, May 13, the Embassy in Ankara informed them to pay N297,600 for food and hotel accommodation.
Similarly, another letter to Nigerians in the State of Kuwait by the Embassy of Nigeria on May 13, 2020, said the evacuees would pay N297, 600 for their quarantine in Nigeria apart from the air fares.
The letter, titled “Re: Request for evacuation of Nigerian nationals in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” said 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 a nd arrival in Nigeria.”