The Federal Government has said Nigerians abroad, who wished to be evacuated amid the pandemic, must be “COVID-19 free”, The PUNCH has learnt.
This was contained in the “COVID-19 Application Form for Nigerians who want to return home” on the website of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
Citizens intending to be repatriated are required to complete the form, The PUNCH reports.
One of the conditions for evacuation expressly stated in the form is that Nigerian nationals willing to join the evacuation flights planned by the Federal Government must be tested for coronavirus and certified negative.
“You MUST get tested for the Virus in your country of residence and be issued an Authorised Health Clearance Certificate attesting that you are COVID-19 free. This Certificate MUST be presented and authenticated by officials at the Airport in your country of departure before you are allowed to board the Aircraft,” part of the requirements read.
Another requirement was that the cost of travel would be paid by the potential evacuees and upon landing, they would be placed on a 14-day compulsory quarantine at a location approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
Confirming this development, NIDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the coronavirus test requirement is based on the NCDC protocol and must be adhered to.
Dabiri-Erewa made this known via Twitter while addressing concerns from some Nigerians abroad.
“Dear Madam, we have been instructed to go for a COVID-19 test before we can be considered for evacuation from the United States. This is both sad and shocking to us considering that we are visitors in the US with no access to any health and social care benefits,” a user, Adeolu Anthony Olagunju, had informed the NIDCOM chairman.
Responding, Dabiri-Erewa said, “Beyond NIDCOM power. It is an NCDC protocol based on very cogent reasons, I am sure. We will continue to engage with them. If anything changes, our embassy will inform you. Scary times but the Lord will heal the world as we do look forward to welcoming you home soon.”
The PUNCH had reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced its plans to evacuate Nigerians stranded abroad amid the pandemic despite airport closure.
See Dabiri-Erewa’s tweet;
Beyond @nidcom_gov power. It’s an NCDC protocol based on very cogent reasons, I am sure.We will continue to engage with them. If anything changes ,our embassy will inform you . Scary times but the Lord will heal the world as we do look forward to welcoming you home soon https://t.co/YUPBtFOHzY
— Abike Dabiri-Erewa (@abikedabiri) April 7, 2020