COVID19: Stranded Nigerians Abroad Cry Out To Buhari As Foreign Nationals Leave The Country

COVID 19: Stranded Nigerians Abroad Cry  Out To Buhari As foreign Nationals Return To Their Country

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 The Wuhan town in Hebei Province of the  Asian country of China  emerged  Coronavirus disease  on December 31, 2019, which took the world unawares, appear to have taken a new dimension.

 Apart  from giving   Scientists, Medical Researchers and big –time  Pharmaceutical Companies in the United States and other technological  advanced countries to develop the vaccine to cure the deadly disease, described as “very dangerous by President Muhammadu Buhari”, the respective countries of the world are now faced  with the  problem of resettling their Citizens  who are craving to return to their home country in order to escape  the humiliation and Isolation faced in their respective countries abroad .

Abike Dabiri-Erewa: Chairman, Nigerrian In Diaspora Commission

The situation, according to Diplomatic sources  is so bad, that many foreigners are stranded abroad because of the no flight policy adopted  by countries to curb further spread of the disease. Giving the social distancing  instruction being advocated by the World Health Organisation, WHO, to contain the spread of the  dreaded disease, this appear to have kept many foreigners, particular, Nigerians living in the US, Italy, Spain, China, South Korea, France, Germany and  the African country of South Africa stranded as there no works to do to sustain their continued living abroad.

The situation of  Nigerians living in some of these Coroavirus infested countries  may have become  worse  that they have cried  out  to the Katsina state born Nigerian President  to provide the aircraft  to evacuate them back to  the country. Many of them living in the  US state of Texas, particular,  which is most hit  by the disease are no longer finding it funny staying in the country.

Indeed, there are several other Nigerians living   in New York and Wshington  DC, two other major  states in  the country and other parts of the world which had been   hit by the deadly disease that had claimed thousands of lives and resulted in the forceful shut down of factories and government establishments  who are begging to return to Nigeria.

This may have  forced  Geofrey Onyeama, minister of Foreign Affairs and Abike Dabiri- Erewa, an axe broadcaster and Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM,  at the instance of the Katsina state born Nigerian Presient, to make   proper  arrangement to evacuate the stranded Nigerians in the Coranavirus infested countries back to the country  without further delay . The latest report of the WHO,  shows that  the Contagious disease had already  spread to 203 countries including Nigeria .

Take for instance, the Nigerian Center For Disease Control, NCDC, report on Friday, April 3, 2020, revealed  that 210 persons had contacted the disease in the country   and  which had been reported to world health body. The plight of the stranded Nigerians in the Diaspora  , according to informed sources was really  giving Onteama, the minister of Foreign Affairs, and Erewa, the NIDCOM, Chairman, a cause for concern.  

Unlike in the past where the government had provided aircrafts to evacuate returnees from South Africa as a result of the Xenophobia attacks, this time around, the situation appear to be different . The government may not have  been  willing to undertake such a heavy financial responsibility  because of other Competing demands in the country.

Onyeama, the minister of Foreign Affairs may have spoken the mind of the President  when he told those that cares to listen  that the financial implications  would be borne   by the respective evacuees. The case of the stranded Nigerians may have been made worse as the minister had said  the returnees would be compulsorily quarantined  for two weeks to avoid further spread of the deadly disease in the country. This is bad news for the stranded Nigerians  abroad  as a result of the global Coronavirus disease  who were optimistic that the government would assist them to defray the cost of their  air ticket back to the country.

As a prelude to making the evacuation a hitch-free exercise, Erewa, the Chairman, NIDCOM, was said to have  instructed  the stranded Nigerians  abroad  who are   willing to return home  to key into the Mission’s window by providing  all the necessary  information in their respective countries that they could be reached with ease.

Although the country’s Embassies in several countries across the world are currently on lock down in Compliance with the Presidential directive which had ordered Cessation of movement  in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, Ogun state and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the Erewa led NIDCOM had  directed those interested  to go online to  fill the Form on the Commission’s website.

 While Nigerians in Diaspora are desperate to return home, foreigners living in the country are also not finding it funny any longer  staying in the country with the increasing number of the Coronavirus  cases being announced daily by Chikwe Ihekweazu led NCDC daily. This is evident going by the large number of foreign nationals leaving the country on a daily basis to their respective countries  in the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic.

 But Onyeama, the minister of Foreign Affairs ,had  said that the exit of the Foreign nationals has nothing to do  with the country’s  healthcare system. According to him, the foreigners are  leaving  whether ”there is something they know or they don’t know” stressing  ,I think  it is a lot more to it  than that”.  The minister believes that the foreigners are leaving the country to their home country where they claimed  to be familiar with  the healthcare  systems so that in the event of any contact   with a Coronavirus victims to be confined, if diagnosed  confirmed to be positive to be in  a more familiar surroundings.

 The minister also believes that the foreign nationals may have opted to leave the country    in order to have   access to good medical Practitioners  and  facilities that they are used to in their respective countries said their  nothing to worry about it.

 . He may have gladdened the heart of Nigerian Travellers  who were worried about the negative impact of the mass exit  of these  foreign nationals from the country on their Embassies and Foreign missions as they feared that it might be shut down   and thus, affect those  who may have applied for business,  Medical or student  VISAs including those who had returned to the countries to see their family members who may not be able to obtain VISA to go back to their respective countries.

He was said to have  told  Nigerians who have one thing or the other to do abroad  that there is no cause  to alarm as  the “ Ambassadors, Heads of missions and other Staff in Nigeria have no plans of  leaving the country”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *