The Federal Government has announced that it would commence evacuation of no fewer than 4,000 Nigerians from about 75 countries around the globe beginning with 265 from the United Arab Emirates to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama who made this known at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing said the evacuation will be done with an Emirates Airline flight noting that the flight was ready at a time but the country was not ready to receive the evacuees.
He spoke on steps to repatriate nationals from near and far stating that the team is doing its utmost despite the teething challenges of capacity to accommodate these returnees.
Onyeama also stated that on Friday, May 8, 2020 a British Airways flight would be arriving the country to evacuate its citizens and that government is using that window to fill the aircraft with about 300 Nigerians and return them home.
Onyeama said that because of the preparation of Abuja with facilities for isolation, government would have loved the BA aircraft to fly into Abuja from the United Kingdom but that would not be possible as the aircraft will fly direct to Lagos despite the strain of facilities in the business capital of the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs further said that an Air Peace flight which will be carrying out a medical evacuation of a couple to the United Kingdom has opened up discussions to bring back some Nigerians as the aircraft would return empty.
Meanwhile, the Consulate of Nigeria in New York has said 270 Nigerians stranded in the United States of America will be evacuated from May 10, 2020 due to the novel coronavirus .
Consul-General, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, who disclosed this in a notice on Sunday, said 700 Nigerians have registered with the missions in the US for the evacuation, which would be done in batches.
The consulate in New York said the first batch of 270 evacuees would be transported to Abuja through an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 509 stating that the aircraft is expected to depart the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at 9:15p.m. and fly directly to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The returnees according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in one of his briefs said citizens would pay for their flight and also be put in compulsory quarantine on arrival in Nigeria.
The notice stated, “The projected cost for the one-way economy ticket is between 1,300 dollars (N488,800) and 1,700 dollars (N639,200) per adult.
“Please note that over 700 Nigerian nationals have registered with our missions in the USA to be evacuated.
“However, only 270 passengers shall be accommodated in this batch of evacuation.”
The mission further said the applicants would be prioritized according to their immigration status.
“This includes the need to consider those stranded with proof of short-stay visas, the elderly, families with children and returning students,” it noted.
Nigerians are currently in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, China, Italy, United Kingdom, Turkey, and many have indicated interests in returning home.