The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said federal government was making efforts to secure quarantine centres in order to prevent Nigerians abroad desirous of coming back home from bringing more COVID-19 cases in the country.
The minister said this at the dairy briefing of the Presidential Task Force on the Control of COVID-19 in Abuja.
“We did not want a situation where people from outside coming in bring more positive cases and exacerbate what is already becoming the big challenge here.
“Most of the hotels do not want to get into a situation of being used as quarantine centres, notwithstanding the fact that they are all empty; but they, for some reason, seem to prefer to remain empty than to be places of quarantine,” he said.
He said officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Lagos state government have been trying to find hotels to accommodate those coming into Lagos.
“They (Lagos state government) have also been facing the same major challenge in Lagos of finding people who, I mean, it’s all private enterprises willing to give up their hotels for this purpose.
“We have been able now to identify some hotels here in Abuja and also in Lagos.”
Onyeama said although some hotels have offered their services, they however want to be paid in advance.
“These hotels want to be paid way in advance. Arrangement is that the passengers (Nigerian evacuees) will have to pay for them, and so that mechanism is something that we’ll have to work out,” he said.
The minister said Nigerians in Dubai who were meant to be evacuated last week would arrive the country on May 4, 2020.