July 22, 2020

COVID-19: FG repatriates 6,317 Nigerians from 19 Countries – Abike

Nigerians in diaspora



By Victoria Ojeme and Fortune Eromosele

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it has repatriated over 6,317 Nigerians from 19 countries respectively.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Chairman and Chief executive officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said with the support of Air Peace Nigeria Ltd, there has been multiple evacuations from some countries.

According to her, majority of the evacuees, comprising 1,405 Nigerians were evacuated from Dubai; followed by the United Kingdom, with 831 Nigerians; while 806 Nigerians were evacuated from the United States.

In addition, she stated that from India, Egypt and Sudan, 540 Nigerians, 372 and 365 Nigerians were evacuated respectively.

The remaining are France, 70;  Saudi Arabia, 117; Turkey, 324; Uganda and Kenya, 172; Senegal, 17; Pakistan 56; Egypt, 102; China, 268; Malaysia and Thailand 247; Lebanon, 147; Canada, 51; South Africa, 324; Ghana, 205.

She said, “Following series of interventions to ameliorate attacks on black Africans in South Africa including Nigerians, the Commission received the first and second batches of stranded Nigerians back home in Lagos on Sept. 11, 2019 and Sept. 18, 2019. A total of 501 returnees consisting of 187 and 314 Nigerians respectively.

“They received SIM Cards worth of N40, 000 airtime plus 9GB of data valid for two months, as well as, a soft loan from the Bank of Industry to support those interested in small trade and businesses.

While a programme of re-integration has been put in place with the support of some NGOs and their respective states of origin which had been written by NiDCOM after the returnees had been profiled for necessary assistance.

“Currently, as COVID-19 is still on rampage, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions around the world have evacuated and still evacuating stranded Nigerians anywhere in the world.”

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Dabiri-Erewa, also acknowledged and expressed gratitude towards individuals, organizations and nongovernmental organizations who made contributions and donations towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many organisations and well-meaning Nigerians have reached out to fight good causes, through kind gestures for the Nigerian diaspora especially during this Pandemic with over #50 million Naira Donations and vice versa.

“In the same stance, an anonymous woman and two-time cancer survivor donated her one-month salary, to the children of the South-African Nigerian returnees. In another case, a COVID-19 Palliative Fund is opened and still on during this COVID-19 Pandemic, for the cause.

“Also, a donation of hand sanitisers worth N5million by Nigerian citizens in China to the Federal Government, was received by the Commission. Food donations, plus, face masks done by the Nigerian in Diaspora Organisation of the Americas (NIDOA, NIDO Americas), cushion the plights of many Nigerians, who had no means of feeding and worse still, have probably lost their jobs because of the pandemic.”

She added that, “This is the 2nd National Diaspora Day Celebrations NIDCOM will be marking since NIDCOM’S establishment a year ago and the 15th Edition after its commencement in 2006.Our efforts alone, couldn’t have been feasible without the help of the Federal Government and most importantly, the Diaspora. You make it happen.

I look forward to a productive celebration, although low-key and its happening virtually through a webinar, the new normal.”