Foreign Affairs Minister Speaks on Stranded Nigerian Abroad; Geoffrey Onyeama Nigerian Minister of Foreign affairs spoke in a press briefing on how they intend to assist Nigerians stranded abroad. In his speech, he spoke about Nigerians leaving in France. In regards to Nigerian citizens in France who are inquiring whether they could safely board an Air France plane destined for Cotonou, Benin Republic before coming to Nigeria. There’s a protocol in place and we can only take people according to the number of facilities that we have available, where they will be quarantined for 14 days and when we have adequate staffing to monitor them for the period of 14 days. That is really the precondition for an approval for anybody to come into the country. The minister had earlier said that we have taken in almost a hundred Nigerians who have come in through the land borders from Togo, Cote d’ivoire and Ghana. For any one to be brought into the country, the Ministry of foreign affairs have to be sure that they have the requisite capacity to take in those passengers. So, if they have already bought tickets and have boarded or about to board the flight, when they get to Cotonou, the ministry as in the past will liaise with our Charge d’Affaires in Cotonou, and look at the capacity there might be and see how to process the passengers from Cotonou. But there’s certainly no guarantee that they would’ve immediate access to the country until such a time as they can be absorbed.
With regards to the 13,000 Students in Malaysia under threat of deportation presumably over staying their visas: The minister said the ministry have not gotten any such information. Ordinarily, if such a thing were to be considered, the Embassy in Malaysia would have informed us and we would have engaged with the Malaysian Government in respect of that.The global practice at the moment is that every country knows that the airspace has been closed around the world and there are people in these countries who might be forced to overstay the duration of their visas.
The minister promised to get in touch with the Nigerian Embassy in Malaysia to verify if the story is indeed the case.