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Controversy trails Nigeria’s move to evacuate citizens from UK

NIGERIA RETURNEES FROM EUROPE

* Citizens lament pressure to do Covid 19 test for  £350 in private facilities

*We can’t answer if test’s  fee is a rip off- Mobihealth

Controversy is trailing Federal Government’s  plan to  evacuate  NIgerians resident in the United Kingdom back to the country.

This is as the embattled citizens have alleged that they were being compelled  to undergo the Covid 19 test in  private health centers even when the UK government said the test is free for citizens and non citizens resident in the country.

Covid -19 test in private centres in the UK according to findings cost £350.

“Mobihealth asked us to pay £350 and the result will be ready in five days. The Nigerian officials  told us that it is imperative for us to do the test at Mobilhealth because the UK health system may not be available to do the test for us because it is very tight at the moment for them. If we pay that sum, we would still have to pay for the ticket. That is too much for us at this point,”one of the citizens who did.not want her name in print said.”

Another  expressed disappointment at the development describing it as a rip off. “If you are not having symptoms, the UK government will not test you. Why then are our people requesting that we must all do the test? They can keep us in an isolated area when we get to Nigeria and take anyone with symptoms out for treatment. One of the  lady at Mobilhealth says she was pulling out when she saw the dimension the matter was assuming.

“They are making it look as if the test is voluntary but in actual fact, they have told us that without it, they would not allow us to board. Did the Chinese doctors they brought NIgeria present any Covid -19 test result before being allowed into the country.

 

Nigeria may have by this decision, discouraged a  large number of the stranded citizens in the United Kingdom willing to be brought  back home.

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Many of the citizens who had earlier indicated interest to come back  said the costs of the test and ticket  are enormous for them and that they may decide to stay back.

The  Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) on Monday was reported to have   put forward fresh conditions that the embattled citizens must meet before they could  be considered for the trip back home.

The commission in a  statement, signed by one Inyang E. Inyang, said: “We have received your application for evacuation from the UK during the COVID-19 period. A major condition for your return will be to have done the COVID-19 test in the UK. You will not be allowed to board without having taken the test. The test is for patients (people)16 years and older. We look forward to bringing you back home.”

NIDCOM explained that while it understands that it may be difficult for some intending returnees to have the test done through the UK NHS as some may not meet the NHS conditions, it however advised that Nigerians in the UK interested in having a private COVID-19 laboratory test within the United Kingdom may consider using private laboratories approved for such test by the UK government.

Abike Dabiri Erewa

The commission according to reports had advised that one of such facilities can be reached via COVID19@mobihealthinternational.com or contact Dr Funmi Adewara on +447753656688.

“This is a Public Health England-approved COVID-19 testing centre. Laboratory results are said to be within 3-5 working days. So, you are free to make your options and decisions,”

The request for valid proof of Covid-19 test result demanded by the commission excludes   the initial condition that intending returnees will have to be responsible for the cost of their flight back home.

 

We can’t answer if £350 Covid -19 test is a rip-off-Mobilhealth 

Mobilhealth International,  in a response to our email said they only a few Nigerians have registered for the controversial test, adding that they can’t answer if the cost of the test amounts to a rip-off.

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Below is the interview (unedited)

How many Nigerians have so far registered to do the test?
There are quite a few
Why are you asking them to pay when the UK govt said it is free?
The NHS offers COVID testing and treatment for free to everyone regardless of immigration status as long as they meet the criteria. The UK Govt has a website with all the information they need, they do not have to come to us to get a COVID19 test done. Those who do not meet the set criteria but require COVID19 test are free to get it done through private laboratories- and they charge a fee. The fee varies by providers and so does the quality and type of test.
 
I am a private citizen running my own business.Mobihealth does not own a laboratory in the UK that carries out COVID 19 tests, We are only facilitating this for those who prefer to do it privately with a registered UK laboratory. There are other private laboratories that people can go to or the NHS. It is not compulsory to come to me for the COVI19 test. The Government has not made it compulsory to use a specific organization as long as the test is valid, it will be accepted.
  Is Nigerian government aware of your activities as it concerns the planned  evacuation I am not involved with evacuation. I am not an employee of the FGN/NHC or NiDCOM. I was only asked to help those who may want to do the COVID19 test from a private laboratory who do not meet the NHS testing criteria and willing to do their test with a private laboratory. The private test comes at a fee like any other business. The cost of the test from private laboratories varies and readily available online, anyone who wants to have a test can use any accredited centre.
 Some citizens in the UK said the fee is a rip off, is it?  I cannot answer that. We do not own any laboratory here in the UK and cannot make any comment on the prices set by various laboratories. However, the laboratory we partnered with charges a reasonable fee of £295 for COVID 19 test, this information is readily available online. The extra £55 covers service charge for organizing these tests for the group. Those who have symptoms must use courier service which is included in the price for specimen collection and delivery within the London area. Those who live outside London will have to pay the courier charges directly for that. Those without symptoms may use royal mail return postage which is significantly cheaper. The price also covers pre and post test doctor’s consultation. Testing does not have to be conducted through Mobihealth, there are many options out there including the other private laboratories and the free NHS testing which does not discriminate against immigration status-  They have options. 
 
We are living in an unprecedented time in human history and we are all under pressure. We empathise with everyone and understand the desperation to reunite with their families.
As a private citizen we are doing our best to continue to support as much as we can. Mobihealth has provided free online screening and teleconsultation to relieve this pressure.We all must unite to fight our common enemy- COVID19 and pray that the situation turns around for our good soon.

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Displaced Yemen children at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity  

Migrants near Budapest

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Acute Malnutrition analysis released today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners is extremely concerning. With limited access to food, humanitarian services and health care, displaced children in Yemen are at risk of the deadly impacts of severe food insecurity.

Around 26 per cent of the more than 156,000 people newly displaced this year, in the areas where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has access, cited food as their main need. This is the second most cited need after shelter and housing, which 65 per cent of people reported as their main need. In areas where there are higher levels of displacement, like Al Hudaydah, Taizz, Al Dhale’e and Marib, higher levels of food needs have also been reported.

“Displaced Yemenis leave their homes with nothing and often find themselves seeking safety in locations where there are no job opportunities and barely enough services, including health care,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Chief of Mission for Yemen.

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“This can leave vulnerable people without enough food to feed their families. Given that UN partners are reporting that acute malnutrition rates among children under five are the highest ever recorded in parts of Yemen, we are extremely worried about children in displaced families.”

The situation in Marib is particularly concerning given that an escalation in hostilities has displaced over 90,000 people to the city and caused a drastic shortage of services. Displaced people in Marib report food to be one of their most urgent needs. Of the displacement sites assessed by IOM in October, some reported that food shortages were a major concern for approximately 50 per cent of their residents.

In response to food insecurity, the emergency aid kits distributed under the Rapid Response Mechanism by IOM to newly displaced families include emergency food rations. IOM also carries out livelihood support activities for displaced communities to help them generate income. Most recently the Organization supported displaced women in making face masks which help their community combat the spread of COVID-19.

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IOM also operates a health centre in Al Jufainah Camp, Yemen’s largest displacement site, and multiple mobile health clinics. In addition to providing primary health care services to over 55 per cent of displaced people in Marib, IOM’s mobile health clinics provide community level access to malnutrition screening for children under the age of five and referral for treatment, in coordination with UNICEF. Given the high demand for such nutritional support, early intervention is vital to reducing avoidable morbidity and mortality among displaced children.

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Nigerians in Spain say no to genocide

Nigerians resident in Spain have kicked against bad governance and brutalitalisation of innocent citizens by security operatives in Nigeria.

They are in solidarity with the #Endsars protesters.

The #Endsars protest  started by young Nigerians to say no to brutality, impunity and gruesome killings in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the government in the country saw security operatives using live bullets on the protesters last week, October 21, 2020.

In a statement signed by Afolabi Oloko, the Nigerians in Spain said: “In every part  of the world, including Nigeria, we believe protesting is a fundamental right of all citizenry that we can exercise whenever we deem it fit as long as it is civil and devoid of violence but such is not the case in Nigeria where the young future of the country are murdered by their very own government just because they made demands that there must be a reform to the notorious Police department and that the country be reformed in general. Have they asked for too much from a responsible and responsive government?

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“It is so disheartening that after Ten days that the youth refused to back down they resorted to killing, maiming of their own future generations just because they asked and begged for good governance and good policing. It’s a shame that young people are being killed all around the cities of Nigeria from Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Abuja, Ondo , Benin, Porthacort just to mention a few. It was horrendous seeing over seventy people being murdered at night while still protesting unarmed peacefully in Lekki area of Lagos state. They organised by switching off the street light while they carried out their evil deed against defenceless young people of the country and also took away the CCTV. The commander-in-chief of the Armed forces in person of President Muhamodu Buhari must be tried at the International court for genocide against it’s own people.

“We the compatriots far away in Spain are with our young brothers and sister on the streets saying no to bad governance as you’re in our hearts and prayers. We support you in the just cause you’re are fighting. Fighting for one’s future should not be seen as an affront to the authorities, rather they should look inward and realise that the system is rotten and should be cleansed but not killing innocent young men on the streets with Army being deployed to take lives of vibrant and resourceful, frustrated and change hungry citizens.
“Today, we came out in multitude in solidarity with our compatriots back home to say #ENDSARS! #ENDBADGOVERNANCE #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY #ENDCORUPTION #ENDTHEGENOCIDE”

READ  UAE pays for 180 tickets as 252 stranded NIgerians return 

 

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ILO, IOM sign agreement to strengthen collaboration on migration governance

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed an Agreement to create a framework for cooperation and collaboration to enhance the benefits of migration for all.

The framework includes joint support for improved migration governance, capacity building and policy coherence at national, regional and global levels. Other areas of work may also be developed.

The Agreement was signed by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, and António Vitorino, the IOM Director-General, on Friday at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Ryder said, “this Agreement seals an important alliance between our two organizations. Together, we will be stronger and more effective in both fulfilling our individual mandates and in collaborating on areas that are crucial for reshaping the world of work so that it is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a brutal impact on economies and societies. Vulnerable groups, particularly migrant workers and their families, are being disproportionately hit. There could be no better time to reinforce our partnership and combine our strengths, so that we can help countries and our constituents build back for a better future.”

READ  Air France, Lufthansa, others evacuate 1, 739 foreigners from Lagos Airport

DG Vitorino said, “the agreement that we are signing today will help us further solidify our collaboration at the time when joint solutions are so much needed, with a pandemic that is hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. As we move towards post-pandemic recovery, we fully embrace the call to build a better world together, tapping into the added value of each partner. With ILO, we have much to co-create and we look forward to future cooperation within the broader UN family, with our partner governments, private sector and civil society.”

The new ILO-IOM Agreement builds on the agencies’ comparative advantages, expertise, and respective constituencies. By encouraging joint initiatives, the Agreement aims to strengthen international migration governance and boost cooperation, capacity building and joint advocacy to promote migrants’ rights and decent work opportunities.

By encouraging social dialogue, it will allow workers` and employers` organizations – who sit equally with governments in the ILO’s tripartite membership structure – to contribute to policy discussions.

READ  African leaders asked to initiate financial bonds to fight COVID-19

A workplan will be developed in the next six months to push forward the collaboration at global, regional and country levels and, more importantly, facilitate the implementation of the Agreement in the field, where both agencies are working directly with affected populations.

It will seek to enhance the agencies joint contribution to their member states, UN country teams, and societies to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Agreement will also allow the ILO and IOM to strengthen support for their respective constituencies in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), and contribute to other global and regional migration policy fora and debates.

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