BY DAYO ADESULU
One hundred and ninety stranded Nigerians in the United Kingdom due to COVID-19 are seeking an agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria that would lead to their quick evacuation from the United Kingdom.
While expressing their dissatisfaction and frustration over the delay in their evacuation by the Federal Government, they believe it’s their constitutional right as citizens to return home at any time without a hindrance.
Mrs Olajoke Adesipe, who spoke on Saturday on behalf of the stranded Nigerians in the United Kingdom urged the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to as a matter of urgency come to their aid.
The Nigerians in Diaspora said the government does not have the constitutional power of locking its citizens out of the country for any reason.
According to the aggrieved Nigerians, the action of the Federal Government shutting its airports against Nigerians in oversea is contrary to section14 (2) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Every Government official swore on oath to uphold the constitution,” they posited.
In a written statement by the suffering Nigerians in the UK, Mrs Olajoke Adesipe who represented them said: ”We, Nigerian citizens, stranded in the UK due to COVID 19, write to express our dissatisfaction and frustration with the delay in our evacuation.
”We want to inform you of the following that has been unanimously agreed to on our platform (approximately 190 Nigerians).
”The Nigerian government does not have the constitutional power of locking its citizens out of the country. This is contrary to *section14 (2) (b)* of the constitution of the FRN which stipulates expressly that, the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Every Government official swore on oath to uphold the constitution.
”Since most of us on the platform have tested Negative for COVID19. On arrival in Nigeria, temperature checks should be conducted to further ascertain our COVID status and the government should allow us to self-quarantine in our various homes. We are more than willing to sign an agreement to this request.
”If it is a must that we are isolated by the government, we suggest the use of NYSC orientation camps as all of those centres are vacant now and each state has its own.
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”Also, we want to urge you to communicate to us in clear terms, what is the precise date of commencement of evacuation? Which airlines have been contracted to carry out this operation? How much we are to pay for the flight ticket?
”Lastly, most of us do not currently possess the mean by which we are expected to pay for our accommodation at the isolation centres.
”We have already paid £350 to private laboratories for the COVID 19 test, the test which was a prerequisite to be airlifted and we are also paying for our flight tickets.
”We hope that the government is able to agree with us on these term stated above as they are the most practicable at the moment. We wish the government treat this as an emergency.”
Mrs Olajoke Adesipe, (On behalf of Nigerians Stranded in the UK)