The agreement between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to spend as much as N1 billion as quarantine costs for about 3,000 Nigerian returnees, has drawn widespread reactions from Nigerians on social media.
The Details: The decision by the CBN and the NNPC was disclosed, yesterday, by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs’ Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja. According to Onyema, this is a CSR gesture by the CBN and the NNPC. The N1 billion is expected to cover the costs of hotel accommodation and the feeding of the returnees.
The NNPC and CBN agree to fund, as part of their CSR, the cost of quarantine accommodation and feeding for all Nigerians returning to the country from abroad, the Foreign Affairs’ Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama has disclosed.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) May 18, 2020
Mixed Reactions: As expected, this development elicited varied responses such that while some liked it, others did not. Alluding to earlier reports that the Federal Government had demanded prospective evacuees to pay N290,000 for their isolation, one Twitter user stated that it was relieving to see the CBN and the NNPC finally come to the rescue. Apparently, the government had asked prospective evacuees from the USA, United Kingdom, India, China, Thailand, and Canada to pay for their quarantine and feeding, because the government is broke.
I'm relieved it was great slap in our face as a country that smaller countries in Africa could evacuate their citizens without coughing or asking for palliative from her citizens too sad Nigeria as a country asking for palliative from returning citizens
— Gkhalifa (@Georgedbest1) May 18, 2020
Meanwhile, not all Nigerians were excited by this news. Some expressed confusion, as one Twitter user asking where the NNPC intended to get the money from. Others wondered whether the CBN and the NNPC were no longer public-owned companies and why they were engaging in CSR.
NNPC? Where does NNPC want to see such money? Is NNPC now an independent money making body? https://t.co/f5dOFsVdO0
— Uwa Bunkoye, PhD.➐ (@realuweez) May 19, 2020
Other Nigerians simply claimed that the decision by the CBN and NNPC was tantamount to “daylight robbery. For this reason, they called on SERAP and other pressure groups to consider calling for an immediate probe.
— Nnamani. Edwin Alexander (@Nnamani_Edwin_A) May 19, 2020
Recall that cash-strapped Nigeria had relied on its private sector to raise billions of naira with which it launched its fight against the deadly Coronavirus. So far, more than five thousand Nigerians have contracted the virus according to the NCDC, with nearly two hundred deaths.
Part of the money raised by the private sector has been used for the purchase of medical supplies as well as the provision of palliatives to Nigerians.