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Covid-19: Stranded Nigerians groan as govt foot drags on evacuation

 

Nigerian deportees from GermanyStranded Nigeriansin different countries overseas are groaning as the Federal Government continues to foot-drag and double speak on its plans to evacuate the citizens who are willing to return to the country from different parts of the world.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema had last the week, April 8, 2020, to be precise announced that the government was set to bring back the stranded citizens.
Within a space of three weeks that Onyema gave the assurance, the government is yet to make good its plans leaving the citizens at the risk of being infected by the virus.

The United States, United Kingdom, Israel, France, Germany among others showed the extent they value their citizens’ lives when they swiftly evacuate their citizens from Nigeria and other parts of the world, even though they have worse cases of the pandemic.

IDPs in Katsina

Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq

Tweeting after the Nigeria Covid-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF) programme held on April 8, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema while responding to questions about the citizens who are stranded abroad, said the government had been working on evacuating the citizens, dismissing claims that the government’s action was a response to letters written by the stranded citizens.

“The #PTFCOVID19 under the chairmanship of the SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha has actually been engaging with this since the closure of the international airports. So, the response was not as a result of letters coming in from Nigerians abroad as has been mentioned in some media houses.

 

“At the time of request, we did not have all our isolation centres and all the other logistical arrangements in place. So for that reason, we kept it in abeyance while we were putting all those things in place and now, we have sufficient beds and so forth and protocol is now well established, and we now feel much stronger and in a better position to undertake this herculean task of trying to see how we can bring Nigerians outside the country back into the country.

“In that context, we’ve now started to get great numbers of Nigerians especially in the United States where almost 200 have now indicated and are willing to return. We are engaging with our Embassies in #China and the High Commission in #London and also in #France to work out all the logistics. Things are now falling in place, and we are getting a sense of what needs to be done.

“It is important that the willing Nigerians engage ONLY with the Embassies and High Commission where they are.It is the Embassies and High Commission that are collating names and making necessary arrangements.

READ  Evacuation: Why Canada denied Nigerian local airline landing clearance

“We have 67 Nigerians, including children, men and women, that were in Cote d I’voire and we needed to engage the Government of Togo, the Government of Benin for them to be able to go through.

Abike Dabiri Erewa

“They are now at the Nigerian border and we got the authorisation of the Government of Benin for them to come into the country. They will be in isolation for the mandatory 14 days once they have come in. #COVID19.”

The minister’s assurance that the country was ready to commence the onerous task of bringing back the stranded citizens started fizzling out when spoke at the Covid 19 Task Force meeting. His tweeted on that day, April 16, read: “We‘ve received all the numbers from our various embassies around the world. We‘ve selected 2 airlines that‘ll be responsible for fetching them. Nos (numbers) are high, & we don’t have isolation spaces for everyone at same time. So we‘ll have to stagger the repatriation.”

“Nigeria has selected two airlines that will bring back Nigerians stranded in various countries around the world. Because of the high numbers, and limited mandatory-isolation spaces in Nigeria, the evacuations will be done in batches.”

The government it appears enjoys doing more talking and taking less action, as it daily inundates with needless stories of obstacles to evacuating the citizens.

When many were expecting to hear that the country was bringing the first batch of the citizens, the Foreign Affairs Minister on Tuesday, April 21, said: “We have to choose which countries we want to start the evacuation process and are looking at 200 evacuees that we can accommodate both in Lagos and Abuja since they will be in isolation for 14 days.

“The most important part at this stage is to secure transportation to bring them back which we have done.

Just yesterday, April 22, the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, while responding to questions about the possibility of
Nigeria government increasing the numbers of evacuees from 200 to 500 Nigerians stranded abroad to make the evacuation faster and ease their financial challenges, said:

“In terms of the timeline of evacuations, we had hoped to have started evacuations already, but we have huge numbers all around the world and as such a delicate exercise.

“We took medical advice and asked what was possible and the figure we were given was 200 for Lagos and 200 for Abuja, of course this is much less than the numbers that are waiting to come back but we are constrained by the facilities that are available.

“We have the internal challenges because the figures are going up as well, so we have a great responsibility to ensure these facilities are available to deal with the immediate challenges we are facing back home.

READ  Eight African migrants drown,  several others injured off the Horn of Africa 

“But if opportunity presents itself and we find that more facilities become available, then of course we would look at the possibility of expanding and increasing the number of people that we can bring back home.

Stranded citizens groan

Some stranded citizens have expressed frustration about the government’s planned evacuation that is daily greeted with hopeless stories. Some of them lamented that they have resorted to begging after exhausting their resources.

Tweeting at the minister, Akim Abubakar
(@akimabubakar) said: “The more you leave us stranded abroad the more we are exposed to the virus and http://abuse.How do we survive this 200 batches strategy for 2,000 people? God this is just like a dream to me. please review the strategy, we appeal.

“Sir please it will take about 7 months to evacuate in batches of 200s inclusive of 14 days isolation. Why not convert hotels near airports in Lagos, Abuja and also hotels in Ogun and Nassarawa due to proximity and at the expense of evacuees, am in Berlin and frustrated.”

AijayGold @aijay_gold, said: “Sir, please save us from South Africa. We have done the tests requested already and it is getting old. We have a number of pregnant women and nursing mothers desperate to go home before their winter becomes strong. Please help. No word of our fate from anyone.

“I only came for a medical treatment. Was to stay just 12 days but alas the shutdown. I have spent so much money trying to pay for accommodation since 26th March. My guest house are pressuring me to get my govt to evacuate me. I hope I don’t get thrown out in the street. Pls help.”

Dee @Darlingtonf13 said: “…diaspora at risk while waiting for 2 weeks+ before it gets to their turn. A lot of us came here for holiday and business and really need to be with our family at this trying times. Most Nigerians are already beggars in the street here because the ‘strandedness’ is at its peak.@NigeriaGov should review this strategy because at this moment, the world is at war and the best place to be is HOME.

Akindele Abiola @AbiolaOyeboade: “Going by 200 evacuees every 14 days means it will take over five months to evacuate the 2000+ stranded Nigerians that have signified interest in returning home. This makes the whole process defeat its aim of truly helping Nigerian stranded in abroad in the midst of this pandemic.”

Atorohoma Nelson @Nelzmeister: “Hello sir. I think the problem of Isolation can be solved if the Government partner with Hotels around the Airport, get their facilities at cheaper rates and I’m sure some of the returnees will be more than willing to pay for their accommodation and feeding for the 14 day period.

READ  15 dead, dozens missing as overloaded Rohingya refugees' boat capsizes

In God We Trust (@twittlarge): “… you should call all ambassador/high commissioner to order in this time of pandemic so that their various countries can treat Nigerians with respect before they start using Nigeria’s as lab rats

Adadioramma @IgwiloMadonna:”Please the one’s in China needs urgent attention, they sleep in the streets chinese people chased them out of house and hotels. So please sir those guys needs government more than any other Nigeria in diaspora. God bless you sir. Chineke gozie gi ri nne.”

Dee (@Darlingtonf13): “Sir this strategy is dangerous. Why not convert most hotels around airport to quarantine centers and make it optional for those that can afford it, Also there are a lot of warehouses you can convert to quarantine centers. 200 in batches is like putting the life of others in…

debby25 @debby2518: “Please sir what about we stuck in South Africa?”

Peacemaker @aduralere06: “Thanks for the steps so far but sir, 200 out of millions of Nigerians willing to come home is something else sir. Which means others would have to wait for another 14days in the hell Nigerian citizens are facing here. My suggestion is using other cities in order to save our lives

Toyin Oyewole @ToyinOyewole: The number of returnees needing to be accommodated can be significantly reduced and the entire evacuation operation expedited, if they are all tested on arrival, and those that test negative are allowed to go home
@nidcom_gov

Tindel Travels @TindelT:: “You’re on point, if Emirates airlines can test passengers at the airport before flights and gets results in 10 minutes why can’t the government get such kits, test and release those that are negative to go home and probably still self isolate if need be.

 

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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  Pope defends migrants, calls for peace in Christmas message

 

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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  Stranded Nigerians celebrate as government lifts suspension on evacuation

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.

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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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Stop enslavement of Africans in other continents- Experts tell African leaders

The second international migration summit by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) ended on Friday, October 16, 2020,  at the Pensioners FM, Ibadan, Oyo State, with a call to  African leaders to deliver good governance to halt continued enslavement of the Africans in other continents through irregular migration.

The conference themed: Migration governance and media strategy for development   with physical and virtual presentations was attended by hundreds of journalists and other participants across the world.

President of JIFORM, Ajibola Abayomi, in his remark after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Diaspora Innovation Institute (DII), US, on training and investment opportunities for journalists, said the global media body with over 200 journalists spread across the continents as parts of the fallouts of the summit would produce glossary of terminologies for over 10,000 journalists and media houses beyond Africa.

Speaking at the occasion, Governor Oluwaseyi Makinde of Oyo State hailed JIFORM’s  advocacy and identified poverty as the root cause of irregular migration pledging commitment to reverse the tide through good governance.

Represented by Barrister Olubunmi Ogunniran, Director General of Legal Administration, Oyo State Ministry of Justice, the governor said apart from rescuing trafficked indigenes of the state abroad and creating diaspora unit, he had inaugurated a task force against human trafficking, sexual offenders with prosecute department and further engagement of the youths through economic activities.

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Minister of Labour Sierra Leone, Mr Alpha Timbo; Ghana Ambassador to Egypt, Lebanon and Sudan, Nii Okai Hammond, and the United Nations Youth Ambassador (Ghana), Lilian Addo, all praised what they tagged courageous movement by JIFORM and promised to support the body in its quest to further spread its advocacies.

Chairman of the summit, Patrick Lumumba,  rued the faulty labour and trade laws in Africa limiting development and called on the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) for ntervention to remove migration barriers causing undue frictions between Ghana and Nigeria ditto for the African Union to end the xenophobic attacks in South Africa against other African nationals.

He blamed the crisis on misapplication of resources and corruption among African leaders and urged them to retrace their steps to save the youths from desperate migration to other continents through the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe lauded JIFORM’s efforts to eradicate irregular migration and vowed to rescue and end the suffering of stranded Nigerians lured through human trafficking to the Middle East and other Arabian nations through collaborations.

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Member of African Union Advisory Committee on Labour Migration, (Ghana) Dr Princess Ocansey urged the African nations to end the Kafala bilateral agreement entered into with some Middle East countres that permitted the en-slavery of mostly African women.

“African leaders must wake up to save the youths from deadly work they are being subjected and replace that with decent work. The Kafala system is a shame and very dehumanizing” she said.

Former Canada Minister of Immigration, Gerry Weiner while delivering his presentation urged the African youths to acquit themselves with the right processes to tap into numerous diaspora opportunities in Canada and elsewhere.

Weiner, who had 12 years working experience in Africa, said only safe and regular migration, would guarantee the actualization of the desire to be part of  economic activities in the world.

The summit had participation from several international speaker that Prince Akin Ojomo from DII; included Johanna Mac from Erich Brost Institute, Germany; Barrister Samuel Adeusi and Ms Omotola Fawunmi both from the US; International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nigeria and Gambia; Rescue African Mission; Synergy Rescue Mission; ThisLebanon Lebanon; Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM); National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP); Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Ghana Immigration Service; Diaspora Innovation Institute, New York, America; and Ghana Immigration Service.

READ  Human trafficking generates billions in profit at the expense of victims- A-TIPSOM

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