Nigerians stranded in South Africa due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are set to be evacuated back home at the cost of between $840 to $1350.
The cost of evacuation is despite the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation announcing on May 19 to use N1bn raised to pay for the evacuation of about 4,000 Nigerians abroad, who have indicated interest in returning home.
After coming under intense fire for cost of evacuation at the time, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said, “I got in touch with the Governor of the CBN and the GMD NNPC. The CBN Governor very generously agreed. The amount that I was talking about over a billion naira is needed because we have over 4, 000 Nigerians out there and even if 3,000 of them come back, the cost of accommodation, feeding and everything we don’t have it. So, the CBN and NNPC agreed to share the cost."
Despite this promise, the Nigerian Government has continued to charge citizens willing to be evacuated home.
200 Nigerians are expected to be evacuated from South Africa on Thursday aboard an Airpeace Airline flight, The Nation reports.
Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, confirmed the evacuation, saying payments were being made by evacuees at the moment.
He said, “We are working towards the evacuation on Thursday. A max of 200. Payments are being made by the evacuees. There are outstanding logistics. We are however hopeful all arrangements will be on the uptick."