Nearly 40 Nigerians living in the diaspora have died as a result of complications from COVID-19, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said on Friday.
Dabiri-Erewa disclosed this on Channels Television’s special COVID-19 programme while explaining some of the efforts of government regarding the welfare of Nigerians outside the country.
According to her, the government is in touch with Nigerians in diaspora in various parts of the world even as efforts are on to the evacuate them.
Meanwhile, she also noted that “Nigerians in the diaspora are coming together to raise funds to help frontline workers in Nigeria and very soon, this initiative by the Nigerians in the diaspora will be presented to the PTF”.
As for evacuations, the NIDCOM boss said about 18 more Nigerians are expected to return from France over the weekend.
“As I speak to you, we are expecting about 18 from France and the France case is a chartered plane arranged by the mission and that will be the first time; apart from those from Lebanon (who supported us), where they’ll actually be coming in without paying anything so thanks to our ambassador in France, about 18 passengers from Europe, some from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain got together and they’ll be coming in today without actually paying anything and that I think is most commendable on her part”.
When asked about the recent attack by Nigerians on the Nigerian embassy in Indonesia, and if she had gotten fillers prior to the incident on the treatment of Nigerians in the Asian country, Dabiri-Erewa responded saying: “no, none at all and that’s why that video was a surprise”.
According to her, perhaps there had been complaints but they were only being channelled to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Maybe they’ve had issues with the mission and were talking to the minister, I don’t know, but all I know is, in Indonesia, we have quite a number of people in prison for drugs”.
For the NIDCOM boss, the only issue that she was aware of was the negotiations for persons ( Nigerians) caught in drug-related offences not to be given capital punishment, as stipulated by the Indonesian government.
“In Indonesia, the penalty for drugs is death. So that’s the case we are dealing with…appealing to them not to kill them but they said that is their law but (asides that) there hasn’t been any particular contact with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission about problems in Indonesia.
Dabiri-Erewa, however, noted that regardless of the issues on the ground, Nigerians destroying property in Indonesia isn’t justified.