Stranded Nigerians in India Seek FG’s Support to Return to Nigeria

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Emma Okonji and Nosa Alekhuogie

Nigerians in India who have been caught up with the global lockdown, are calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria to come to their aid and facilitate their evacuation from India back to Nigeria.

The representative of the Nigerian community in India, Mr. Martins Izevbokun, who made the call yesterday during an interview on the Morning Show of the ARISE NEWS Channel, a sister broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said although the Nigerian High Commission in India was doing great to provide support for Nigerians , the federal government needed to do more to facilitate the evacuation of stranded Nigerians have indicated interest to return to their father’s land.

According to Izevbokun, “the issue of airlifting of Nigerians from India, came at a very high cost, which many Nigerians in India cannot afford. There were proposals from Ethiopian Airline and Air Peace, but Nigerians in India chose Air Peace because its price was competitive enough. Air Peace gave us various pricing options, but not many of the stranded Nigerians have the money to pay for their air tickets. We expected the federal government to subsidise the cost of air ticket to enable stranded Nigerians return to Nigeria. Nigerians in India are suffering and they need government support and palliatives to survive and return to Nigeria.”

Speaking about the issue of quarantine on arrival in Nigeria, Izevbokun said they were told that on arrival in Nigeria, they would be quarantine for two weeks, adding that they were willing to subject themselves to quarantine, provided the federal government would make adequate arrangement to provide palliatives that would take care of their survival in India, as well as their return to Nigeria.

Reacting to government’s claim that the Isolation Centres in Lagos and Abuja were filled to capacity, and may not be able to accommodate more people from outside the country, Izevbokun said the federal government could decentralise the quarantine process and relocate people to the Isolation Centres in their states, since each state has its own isolation centres, instead of keeping all returnees from India and from other countries in Abuja and Lagos.

“On arrival, state governors should take responsibility of their returnees and transport them to different Isolation Centres in their respective states,” Izevbokun said.