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Coronavirus: More reactions trail evacuation of Nigerians abroad

NIGERIA – Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTIW) has called for collaboration between Nigerians in diaspora and the federal government in the ongoing repatriation.

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Amid the coronavirus global crisis, Nigeria has evacuated some citizens abroad and is in the process of repatriating more.

On Monday, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) agreed to foot the bills of stranded returnees.

In a statement, CFTIW despite the challenges, the Nigerian government has made adequate measures for those that want to come back home.

Noting that there would be hassles during evacuation, the body urged nationals to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to ensure smooth operations.

“Some want to come home at the expense of the government. That would be laudable but ordinarily, travellers make personal travel arrangements. In extraordinary times, it is not unusual for governments and missions not to absorb travelling costs.”

CFTIW said it was unfortunate that officials of Nigerian embassies were harassed, despite efforts to manage the situation.

The body noted that bigger economies such as the United States, India, United Kingdom and China asked their citizens to bear the cost of travel and other ancillary services.

“The Nigerian authorities have made similar arrangements at a reduced cost. We call on all responsible diaspora to support our institutions and cooperate as we go through this crisis period.”

On handling the COVID-19 crisis, the group appealed to the federal government to ensure that palliatives distribution reaches more Nigerians.

It said: “Mistakes were made, such as delayed closure of airports but subsequently, contact tracing, installation of Isolation Centres, provision of protective equipment and availability of testing kits have been moderate.

“Most importantly, we are not witnessing body bags everywhere. There are probably many undocumented deaths, but we have beaten all the negative statistics forecasted by several bodies.”

CFTIW added that it was commendable that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Finance have taken monetary and fiscal policies to protect jobs nationwide.

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