Ebola: Nigerian Volunteers To Sierra Leone, Liberia Detained At Hotel Where They Were Quarantined Over Unpaid Bills (Photo)

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Interesting read from Premium Times, corruption has eaten
deep in Nigeria.
Nigerians who who returned to Abuja more than a week ago
after months of volunteer service in the fight against Ebola in Liberia and
Sierra Leone were Wednesday morning locked up in Summit Villa hotel, life camp,
Abuja over unpaid hotel bills.
The volunteers returned to the country May 23rd, having represented
the country at the AU’s mission in Liberia and Sierra Leon to help eradicate
the Ebola scourge there.

Unfortunately, since their return, the volunteers allege
being humiliated at the AU mission and now in Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry Of Health through Sanni Gwarzo, head of
the returnees committee, had lodged the contingents in various hotels including
Summit Villa hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel bills have not been paid and the
volunteers have complained even about feeding.
The volunteers were supposed to be quarantined for 21 days
upon their return to the country. However, those from Liberia were ejected from
their hotel rooms on Friday May 29 while those from Sierra Leon were ejected
Wednesday, June 3. Their ejection, PREMIUM TIMES findings reveal was on the
instructions of Mr. Gwarzo.
But the Dangote Foundation at a press briefing Friday May 29
had announced a donation of N60million meant for accommodation and feeding of
the returnees while in quarantine for 21 days.
The Federal Ministry had acknowledged receipt of the money
at the event, thanking the foundation for its contributions to the welfare of
the Ebola volunteers.
The foundation has in total donated N900 million towards the
eradication of the virus in Nigeria. But the contingents allege that they
received nothing of the Dangote’s donations since 2014 when its started making
donations towards their care over the Ebola virus outbreak.
When the contingents were to leave the hotel 6am, the hotel
management locked the gates saying none of them would be allowed out because
the Ministry of Health was owing N7.3million. Most of the contingents had early
morning flights to catch and were about missing them when Premium Times was
called in.
One of the hotel staffers who spoke off the record said the
FMOH has defaulted in paying its debt so the contingents won’t be allowed out.
Mr. Gwarzo had switched off his phone since the previous day
when it dawned on him that there was no money to pay the contingents or the
hotel, Premium Times understands.
Davidson George, a member of the government committee, who
turned up at the hotel, called the Permanent Secretary in the health ministry,
Linus Awute, who pleaded with the hotel authorities to let the contingents go.
“Please save me from this scandal…I’m on my knees begging in
the name of God…” he begged the hotel management representative crying on
phone.
Mr. George had to deposit his identity card with the hotel
standing as surety.
Further findings by Premium Times revealed that the
controversial sum was yet to be paid because Abdulsalami Nasidi, Chief
Executive Officer, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and prevention (NCDC)
wanted to pay the bill in cash, while Mr. Awute kicked against it.
Mr. Awute had demanded an invoice from the hotel as paying
cash for such an amount is illegal.
All efforts to get Mr. Nasidi for comments was futile as he
neither responded to text message questions nor picked this reporter’s calls.
Premium Times had earlier called him Friday May 29th over
alleged financial misappropriation allegations. He had switched off the call on
our reporter.
Meanwhile, the contingents at Royal tropicana hotel, Utako
Abuja are scared of being locked up as well as the government is owing the
hotel over N5million.
Volunteers who spoke with our reporter said this was the
same humiliation they faced while in Sierra Leon and Liberia as hotel
managements and apartment owners locked some of them up over none payment of
bills.

Some Nigerians were even arrested and detained in Sierra
Leon over none payment of their accommodation bills by the AU, while others’
properties were thrown out.

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