Nigerians stuck in Uganda, who are willing to return home, have accused the Nigerian High Commission of extortion.
The Nigerians, who have been in Uganda since the closure of airspace in the country in March 2020, were told to pay a compulsory fee of $840 for evacuation.
The affected citizens condemned the outrageous fee, noting that evacuation by the government of other countries did not cost as much.
A notice of evacuation signed by E. B. Ukpe for the Nigerian High Commissioner in Uganda, said, “All registered prospective Nigerian evacuees are to commence the payment of $840 to the high commission's account as follows:
Acct Name - Nigeria High Commission.
Bank: United Bank for Africa (Uganda) Ltd.
Acct.No: 0113001161(US$ only)
Swift (or Sort Code): UNAFUGKA (for those paying into the acct from outside Uganda)."
Speaking with SaharaReporters, some of the Nigerians in Uganda questioned the high fee being charged by the government.
One of them, who identified himself as Abdul, revealed that while travel ticket cost $400, the Nigerian High Commission was demanding $840 before they could be airlifted home.
“When we contacted the high commission to begin the process for the second evacuation flight, they said we must pay $840 but unfortunately the money is too much, we can't afford it.
“We have the same hours with Sudan but their evacuees are paying $460.
“Why are people in Dubai paying $672 and our high commission is asking us from Uganda to pay $840,” Abdul queried.
Another Nigerian stranded in Uganda, who does not want to be named, disclosed that the first evacuation flight revealed that the high commission was extorting them.
He said, “The last evacuation, the high commission did wrong arrangements after it asked people to pay $840.
“Some of our colleagues paid $500, some people paid $600 while others paid $840. Those who paid $840 were promised that they will get a refund but they have not received anything.”
They urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately intervene in curbing the extortion by the high commission and begin fresh evacuation process for Nigerians stranded in Uganda.
“What we really want now is for the government to make the embassy to reduce the price because we all know it is not from the airline.
“According to what the embassy informed us, the airplane, which has 136 seats, demanded $90,000, so it means each person would pay $662.
“A lot of people are willing to return home and we are urging the Nigerian Government to intervene and order the high commission in Uganda to slash the fee to $500 per person,” the stranded Nigerians pleaded.