COVID-19: Nigerians in diaspora have not asked to be evacuated – FG

The Federal Government has disclosed that Nigerians in the diaspora have not sent any request of evacuation to the Nigerian Embassies in their countries of residence.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama stated this during the joint briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday.

According to him, the Nigerian government has remained in touch with Nigerian Embassies across the world, especially the worst-hit countries, and will swing to action immediately they receive such notification.

“We are in touch with our embassies around the world especially those in the worst-hit countries. So if there are those who want to be evacuated, it has to be done within the framework of the Embassy. 

“As at now, we have not had any request from any of our embassies indicating any significant numbers of Nigerians wishing to be evacuated.  

“Certainly, if we receive notification from any of our embassies, we will start to take action and react accordingly,” he said.

2.6 million households to get FG relief packages: Speaking earlier during the briefing, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk announced that 2.6 million households with over 11 million individuals had been earmarked to receive the Federal Government relief packages, as part of palliatives for the masses.

Farouk said the government already has a social register with details of those considered as the vulnerable in society.

“The social register captures 11,045,537 individuals covering 2, 644,995 poor and vulnerable households around the country, with 47,698 communities, 4946 wards, 453 local governments in 35 states of the country.  

“This is the register we have and we are going to use it to carry out this intervention,” she said.

She noted that even though the register only covered the poor and vulnerable in the rural areas, the government is aware that the urban poor will be affected by the lockdown, and is working to expand the list to capture another 1 million households.

Giving an update on the progress made, she said, “We have reached out to about 1 million people in 436,000 households across the country. We have already finished distributing 2 months of rations to the people in the IDP camps especially in the north, we are now focusing on those in the FCT. 

“The poor and vulnerable in the register has various categories. The poorest of the poor, people who have been displaced, the elderly and people living with disabilities, and we have taken them all into consideration.”

Honourable Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire announced earlier that within the next three weeks, over 300 gene Xpert machines used for diagnosing tuberculosis would be converted to be used for COVID-19 testing.

Ehanire added that the resources for procuring required commodities had been provided, and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control had engaged hundreds of ad-hoc staff to support call centres, contact tracing and laboratory work.

The volunteers include retired medical personnel and volunteers who are being trained to support preparedness and treatments.

He appealed to Nigerians to protect the elderly among them and those with underlying medical conditions from unnecessary contact with possible cases.

He added that the NCDC hotline is available round the clock, but warned that it is only to be used for “serious legitimate reporting and enquiries and not for a joke.”

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