Nigerians living in the United Kingdom, UK must undergo a £350–that’s nearly N166,000–testing for coronavirus before they can be evacuated, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission says.
Nigerians affected have expressed displeasure at the latest requirement, saying it was not part of conditions initially given to them. It comes amidst concerns that many Nigerians in the UK may not meet testing conditions of the UK’s National Health Service and it would be difficult for them to be tested through the NHS.
The commission suggests using a private coronavirus laboratory test, said to cost £350.
“We understand that it may be difficult through the NHS as some may not meet the NHS conditions. However, Nigerians in the UK interested in having a private COVID-19 laboratory test within the United Kingdom can use Private laboratory, one of which is COVID19@mobihealthinternational.com or contact Dr Funmi Adewara on +447753656688,” the commission said in a memo.
“This is a Public Health England-approved COVID-19 testing kit. Laboratory results are said to be within 3-5 working days. The test is for patients 16 years and older. So, you are free to make your options and decisions, as we look forward to bringing you back home.
You will not be allowed to board without having done the COVID – 19 Test,” it stated. When contacted Adewara, named in the memo, confirmed the kit costs £350, that is N155,750, using CBN exchange rate of £1 to N445 .
NiDCOM says the airlines will need between 100 and 150 people to evacuate at a reasonable fee. The commission has begun receiving applications for evacuation but will not begin testing until the applications reach 100.
It says the cost of testing, paid by prospective evacuees, would be refunded if it is not able to get 100 applications. Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye confirmed that the mission in London has confirmed that those who are willing to be evacuated would be tested but what is however not confirmed is if those who are covid-19 positive would be put on the same aircraft with those who are negative. Some 100 people so far have indicated interest in leaving the UK, and another 45 in the US, according to the commission.
Last week, the foreign affairs ministry instructed its missions to compile lists of Nigerians abroad who may want to return in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. It said they would go into 14-day mandatory isolation upon return to Nigeria.