THE Federal Government has continued the evacuation of Nigerians desiring to return to the country following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with the return of 102 Nigerians from Egypt and 260 expected back from India on Saturday.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on his twitter handle “@GeoffreyOnyeama” on Friday, stated “102 Nigerians arrived from Egypt and 260 are expected tomorrow morning from India.@flyairpeace is bringing in the passengers from India and @EgyptAir brought the ones from Egypt.”
The minister’s Special Assistant, Media, Ms Sarah Sanda, reportedly told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that the evacuation was done following the new protocols.
She said that the returnees who arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja are already self isolating and are expected to undergo the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing within 72 hours.
Sanda said that the same procedures would be followed by the expected returnees from India on Saturday after which they would go into the 14-day self isolation.
According to her, the Air Peace carrier from India is expected to land in Abuja after which it will proceed to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos where the rest returnees will disembark. (NAN)
In its last weekly briefing, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, said the country will resume the evacuation of Nigerians trapped abroad because of the pandemic.
He disclosed said that the target is to evacuate a minimum of 1000 Nigerians weekly as part of a plan to evacuate 4,000 stranded Nigerians in the next four weeks.
In late May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama explained that the government suspended the evacuation of Nigerians pending the establishment of new evacuation protocols.
Aliyu had noted that the new protocols means that those returning must agree to abide by the safety precautions put in place before they board the plane.
Returnees will undergo PCR tests for COVID-19 before they board the flight. They will repeat the PCR tests when they arrived within 72 hours and “they will also be required to stay in the point of entry, which will be Lagos or Abuja for now because these are the two cities where the flights will be coming in and this is the arrangement we have made with the private sector,” Aliyu said.
The evacuees are required to cater for themselves in Lagos and Abuja for a period of 14 days, and the can self-isolate at home.
The Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, immigration and security authorities the aviation sector, among others agencies designed the new protocols.