CBN, NNPC to bear accomodation, feeding costs of returnees – FG

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday, May 18; agreed to fund the feeding and accommodation of evacuees in Lagos and Abuja.

This was contained in a statement issued by the minister of Foreign Affairs; Geoffrey Onyeama, during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 daily news conference in Abuja.

Onyeama said the funds pooled by the CBN and the NNPC to cover the cost of evacuees’ feeding and accommodation was over N1 billion and since funding was not available; it had to pass the cost onto the evacuees.

It was also reported that some evacuees had protested the condition they were being subjected to at isolation centres; citing poor feeding and other ill-treatment.

Onyeama stressed that several attempts made to proffer solution to the imbroglio failed; until the Minister of Environment, Mahmood Muhammed, came to the rescue.

The minister said that the amount involved was over N1 billion and the duo of CBN and NNPC promised to rescue the situation.

Onyeama said: “Today, the GMD of NNPC said he met with the CBN Governor and they both promised to fund the feeding of evacuees.

“I thank the Minister of Environment for the suggestion and the solidarity who sold the idea to me to approach CBN and NNPC to support Nigerians in desperate need.”

Meanwhile, the Republic of Madagascar has asked Nigeria to pay N78.2million for the quantity of its COVID-19 cure drugs sent to the Federal Government.

However, the quantity of the COVID-19 herbal remedy dispatched to Nigeria via Guinea Bissau is yet to be ascertained.

Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Saturday; brought the drugs allocated to Nigeria by Madagascar.

President Buhari said Nigeria would take the drug through intensive tests to determine its suitability.

A source revealed: “For our consignments in Guinea Bissau, Madagascar has asked Nigeria to pay over €170,000 (N78, 200,000). We have received the invoice because the African country has made us realise that the drugs are not being given out free.

“We are being asked to pay for the drugs yet to be validated. Since the AU directed the supply of the drugs to African countries; we may have no choice but to pay for it.

“This payment may, however, be one-off because mass importation of the drugs from Madagascar will not be cost-effective. By the time we take into account the cost of freight, the amount will be too high.

“This is why we are looking at local options available to us as a nation.”

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