Nigerian citizens currently stranded in the United Kingdom due to border closure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, have called on their federal government to facilitate their return to the West Africa nation.
According to Daily Trust, the stranded citizens, in a statement on Sunday, argued the Nigerian government does not have the constitutional power to prohibit its citizens from entering the country. They also claim most of them have tested negative for COVID-19 hence should be granted entry back home.
“The action of the Federal Government shutting its airports against Nigerians in overseas is contrary to section14 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement, which called on the country’s Foreign Minister to come to their assistance, said.
They also called on the government to come up with a travel itinerary detailing when they’ll be evacuated from the United Kingdom – which has recorded over 150,000 coronavirus cases and over 20,000 deaths – as well as the airlines that will be booked to facilitate their return and flight costs.
“Since most of us on the platform have tested Negative for COVID-19, on arrival in Nigeria, temperature checks should be conducted to further ascertain our COVID-19 status and the government should allow us to self-quarantine in our various homes.
“We’re more than willing to sign an agreement to this request. If it is a must that we’re isolated by the government, we suggest the use of NYSC orientation camps as all of those centres are vacant now and each state has its own.
“Most of us do not currently possess the means by which we’re expected to pay for our accommodation at the isolation centres,” they said.
President Muhammadu Buhari initially announced a 14-day lockdown in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states on March 29 to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country. He further extended it by another 14 days on April 13. The country’s land borders, airspace, as well as its airports are also currently closed.
Addressing the request from the stranded citizens, a source from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) told Daily Trust though they’re responsible for evacuating Nigerians who are abroad back home, “this particular evacuation is a peculiar one as it involves a pandemic which is worldwide.
“The responsibility given to NEMA at the moment is just to identify airlines that are willing to go and evacuate the people.”
At the time this article was published, Nigeria has 1,273 recorded cases, 239 deaths and 40 casualties.