COVID-19: Nigeria evacuates 69 nationals from Lebanon

Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigerian foreign minister says South Africa must act decisively.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigerian foreign minister says South Africa must act decisively.

The federal government on Sunday evacuated 69 Nigerians from Lebanon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, shared on his official Twitter handle.

The evacuation, according to the minister, was successful due to the help provided by the Lebanese government.

The evacuees were made up of 50 reportedly trafficked young women and 19 other Nigerians.

Mr Onyeama, while appreciating the Lebanese government and community, said “with financial and logistic support of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese community in Nigeria, 50 trafficked girls and 19 stranded Nigerians were successfully evacuated from Lebanon and arrived Nigeria today”.

“My profound gratitude to Amb. Houssam Diad, Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria and Ambassador Goni Zannabura, Nigerian Ambassador in Lebanon.”

About 1,039 Nigerians have been successfully repatriated from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and now Lebanon.

Despite the government’s efforts, more Nigerians in countries like South Africa still await their evacuation.

A Nigerian in South Africa, Olatunji Olanrewaju, asked the minister to look into the case of stranded Nigerians in South Africa.

“Honourable Minister, please stop looking away when it concerns stranded Nigerians in South Africa. We’ve been begging you for us to be evacuated back home for over 2 months. Things are getting out of hand. Please help us. We’re over 200 and not hear anything,” he tweeted at the minister.

Mr Onyeama had earlier advised Nigerians in countries yet to be evacuated to be patient.

He had said “there are Nigerians in India, China, South Africa, Sudan, UK, US, France and so on. I urge you all to continue to bear with us, be patient because the reality is that we can only process a certain number at any given time.

“All the different facilities that are required to be in place, human resources as well are limited. It really pains us to know and see that there are Nigerians out there who are really desperate and going through difficult times needing and wanting to come home.”

He had said the government will do everything possible to bring stranded Nigerians back home as quickly as possible.

Concerning Nigerians who were earlier evacuated, the official said “we are coming to the end of the 14-day quarantine for the first and second batches of Nigerian evacuees. Some of them need to travel across state lines to get home.”

He said the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has “directed commissioners of police in Abuja and Lagos to give the evacuees ‘personalised’ passes for (interstate) travel.”

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