Nigerian citizens in the United Kingdom have not been asked to pay for the COVID-19 test as a precondition to be airlifted back home, the Federal Government said on Monday.
According to the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Nigerians in the UK can either undergo COVID-19 test in either a public or private health facility.
The commission said it did not order citizens to pay N160, 000 for the test.
It also explained said that a Nigerian, who was among the 24 cleared to return home tested positive in Togo.
In a statement on Monday, April 13, 2020, NIDCOM said it is a global practice right that the returnee undergoes the COVID-19 test and on arrival, the returnee will also be quarantined in the home country for 14 days.
It reads: “The attention of has been drawn to a story published by Sahara Reporters saying the Federal Government of Nigeria has compelled all returnees from the United Kingdom to pay for COVID-19 test as a precondition for evacuation. This is not true as there was no such directive.
“The true position is that for any returning Nigerian back home, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) stipulates two conditions which align with global health practices.
“That the returnee does a COVID-19 test and on arrival, the returnee will also be quarantined in the home country for 14 days. Any of these protocols may change if so directed by NCDC.
“In the UK, there are public and private options where such tests could be carried out. It is free in all public institutions in the UK while the price varies from one private laboratory to another.
“The Test is however optional in a private Laboratory as there is no compulsion as to where Test will be done.
“Undoubtedly, if the NCDC protocol changes, the mission will communicate with the returnees.
“It will interest you to note that subjecting a returnee to a COVID-19 test is not limited to the UK but all parts of the world.
“For instance, out of the 24 Nigerians who recently returned from Togo, one of them tested positive and is still in quarantine in Togo.
“Others on isolation at a Government facility have been tested again, and after their results, if negative, they will be allowed to leave.
“So, it is wrong to assume that the Nigerian government has ordered citizens in United kingdom to pay N160, 000 for COVID-19 test as a precondition for evacuation.”