Abuja, Lagos hotels unwilling to house returnees from the abroad

Written by on April 25, 2020

Amid the plans for the evacuation of Nigerians abroad due to the ravaging coronavirus disease across the world, hotels in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory have refused to make their rooms available for the isolation of the returnees when they eventually arrive in the country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday that finding hotels to quarantine the returnees had been a serious challenge because the hotels believed using their facilities to isolate the returnees could damage their brand.

Over 2,000 Nigerians in the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, China and other countries had registered with the Nigerian missions in their country of residence for their evacuation after agreeing to subject themselves to mandatory coronavirus testing and 14-day quarantine on arrival in Abuja or Lagos. Most of the countries where the returnees are coming from have far more cases than Nigeria.

Some countries had equally evacuated their citizens from Nigeria amid the raging virus.

Onyeama had said on Monday that the evacuation would commence next week, noting that two airlines had agreed to bring back the citizens at affordable rates. He noted that the returnees would be brought back in batches of 200 but that their accommodation was the next challenge.

He explained that he sought the assistance of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, but that the governor could not get hotels in the state to release their premises as isolation centres.

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