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COVID-19: 190 stranded Nigerians in UK urge urgent airlift home

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No fewer than 190 Nigerians stranded in the United Kingdom amid  COVID-19 pandemic crisis are frustrated and depressed following the delay in their evacuation by the Federal Government.

“We, Nigerian citizens, stranded in the UK due to COVID 19, write to express our dissatisfaction and frustration with the delay in our evacuation.

”Most of us on the platform have tested negative for COVID19,’’ the group said in a statement by their spokeswoman, Mrs Olajoke Adesipe, urging the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama to as “a matter of urgency’’ come to their aid.

Geoffrey Onyeama

They insisted that the federal government had no such power under the nation’s Constitution to “lock its citizens out of the country for any reason’’.

According to the aggrieved Nigerians, the action of the Federal Government in shutting its airports against Nigerians in oversea is contrary to section14 (2) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She said:“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Every Government official swore on oath to uphold the constitution.

“We want to inform you of the following that has been unanimously agreed to on our platform (approximately 190 Nigerians).

“The Nigerian government does not have the constitutional power of locking its citizens out of the country. This is contrary to *section14 (2) (b)* of the constitution of the FRN which stipulates expressly that, the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Every Government official swore on oath to uphold the constitution.

“Since most of us on the platform have tested negative for COVID19. On arrival in Nigeria, temperature checks should be conducted to further ascertain our COVID status and the government should allow us to self-quarantine in our various homes. We are more than willing to sign an agreement to this request.

“If it is a must that we are 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.’’

Adesipe appealed to the government to communicate to them in clear terms the precise date of commencement of evacuation, airlines that have been contracted for the airlift and how much to pay for the flight ticket.

”Lastly, most of us do not currently possess the mean by which we are expected to pay for our accommodation at the isolation centres.

”We have already paid £350 to private laboratories for the COVID 19 test, the test which was a prerequisite to be airlifted and we are also paying for our flight tickets.

”We hope that the government is able to agree with us on these term stated above as they are the most practicable at the moment. We wish the government treats this as an emergency,’’ they stranded Nigerians said.

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