The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Monday agreed to fund the feeding and accommodation of Nigerians evacuated from abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, said the cost of feeding and accommodation of the evacuated persons was over N1 billion.
KanyiDaily recalls that the Federal Government had asked prospective returnees to pay N290,000 for their two-weeks isolation and feeding in hotels in Lagos and Abuja, ahead of their evacuation.
Revealing that 620 evacuees are currently in Lagos and Abuja, Onyeama explained that the government found itself in a situation where it either had to stop the evacuation for lack of funds or make the citizens pay for it.
The minister stressed that several attempts made by the government to proffer solution to the imbroglio failed until the Minister of Environment, Mahmood Muhammed, advised him to solicit financial support from the CBN and the NNPC.
“The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, on Friday night called me and suggested, ‘why not try NNPC, why not try CBN? They have corporate social responsibility funding.’ I told him I would do that immediately.
“I got in touch with the governor of the CBN and I told him I was going to do the same with the GMD, NNPC, Mele Kyari, and the governor of the central bank agreed.
“We are talking of over N1bn because till now, we have about 4,000 Nigerians out there and if 3,000 of them come back, the cost of accommodation, feeding and everything else are over N1bn that we don’t have and he said he is ready to explore and share with the NNPC.”
“I spoke to the GMD of NNPC and he said he is going to consult. So, we kept fingers crossed and thanks be to God, today (Monday), he got back to me to say he was going to meet up with the governor of the Central Bank and together, they would fund the portion – accommodation and feeding of evacuees, so we can go forward in a better environment,”