COVID-19 – Nigerians Stranded in Thailand to Pay Nearly N300,000 For ‘Quarantine Upkeep’ Each
The federal government has directed the Nigerian Mission in Thailand not to evacuate any stranded perdons who fail to pay for their accommodation and feeding charges ahead of evacuation.
The directive was contained in a letter to the evacuees signed by the Head of Chancery, Nigerian Mission in Thailand, Nicholas Uhomoibhi, and dated May 14, 2020.
According to the letter, the evacuees are expected to pay N297,000 for their accommodation and feeding before their arrival in Nigeria.
Before now, the Federal Government has been taking responsibility for the quarantine fees of evacuees.
However, the FG said due to reasons beyond its control, it can no longer pick the bills.
The letter read: “Dear prospective evacuees, I am directed to bring to your attention that due to measures that are beyond the control of the COVID-19 local organising team in Nigeria, all evacuees going to Nigeria henceforth are to now pay (for) quarantine, isolation, accommodation centre or hotel before departure and arrival in Nigeria.
“In this regard, all prospective evacuees are to note the negotiated rate: Accommodation, N15,000 for 16 days (N240,000);
Feeding, N3,600 for 16 days (N57,000). Total, N297,000.”
“Kindly note that the rates were negotiated in Nigeria and the embassy has been directed not to airlift any evacuees who fail to pay the fees.”
Already, the Federal Government has evacuated about 678 Nigerians stranded in various countries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 253 Nigerians were evacuated from the United Kingdom, 265 from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 160 from the United States.
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On arrival, all evacuees are quarantined for 14 days before leaving for their respective destinations in the country.
The minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama had on April 23 said some evacuees will be made to cover their bills for services rendered.
Mr. Onyeama, while speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing, explained that only some stranded students in Khartoum, Sudan, will be evacuated free of charge.
He said such magnanimity cannot be extended to others due to the paucity of funds.
“But unfortunately, we just don’t have the financial resources. As you can see, there is a huge amount of money that we have to pay for various aspects of the challenge,” he said.
“It is a source of great regret to the government that we are not in the position to pay. If we have the resources, we would be more than happy to pay for anybody to come home free of charge, pay for their stay in the isolation centre for two weeks,” he said.