The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have resolved to pick the feeding and hotel bills of Nigerians stranded abroad as a result of Coronavirus, but who are desirous of returning home.
They will no longer have to bear the expenses of their two-week quarantine as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have offered to foot the bills estimated at about N1billion for 3,000 out of the 4,000 people being expected.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geofrey Onyeama, explained on Monday during the PTF daily briefing in Abuja that the government was not comfortable asking would-be returnees to pick their bills but for the paucity of funds.
He said the fund used for the isolation of those that had returned was meant for something else.
The minister said: “Last Friday night after getting all the barrage from around the world, including allegation that we were conspiring with hotels to fleece Nigerians and other forms of accusations, we tried to find a way out of it.
“Minister of Environment, Dr. Mahmoud Abubakar, called me and suggested that we approach the NNPC and the CBN. He reminded me that the two organisations had corporate social responsibility funds.
“I got in touch with the Governor of the CBN (Godwin Emefiele) and the GMD of the NNPC (Mele Kyari). I thank them generously for agreeing to spend over N1 billion because we have over 4,000 Nigerians out there.
If over 3,000 come back, the cost of accommodation, feeding and other things is over a billion that we don’t have.
They were trapped in various countries across the world as a result of global lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Federal government last week said it would no longer pay for their stay in isolation due to cash crunch.
Already, returnees from United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States and the United Kingdom are in the country at government expense.