Nigeria has evacuated no fewer than 648 nationals stranded in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and some parts of Europe as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a government agency has said.
The evacuees arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, Abuja on Sunday via different airlines, namely: Emirate, Azman air, Euro air and Air Sudan.
In a Twitter post Monday, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) said 117 evacuees from Saudia Arabia arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday via Azman air while Emirate airlifted 324 stranded nationals in the UAE and arrived at about 3 p.m.
Also, Euro Air moved 51 evacuees from Canada who arrived at about 6.45 p.m. on the same day. Meanwhile, another 22 nationals were said to have arrived from some parts of Europe namely, France, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom.
“Earlier we reported that @airfrance flight AF936 with 22 Nigerians from (France, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Norway, Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom and Canada) with other Nationals arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 2:44 p.m. local time from citizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris,” the Twitter statement read.
It said 134 Nigerians who were evacuated from Sudan, also arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja via Air Sudan, on Sunday morning.
All the returnees reportedly tested negative to COVID-19 and would proceed on a 14-day self-isolation as mandated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the agency said.
EVACUATION SUMMARY FOR SUNDAY 19th July 2020.
Azman air arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport, Abuja from Jeddah with 117 evacuees at about 11:30 pm local time.
Emirate flight from Dubai arrived Murtala Muhammed Int’l Airport, Lagos at about 3pm with 324 Stranded Nigerians.
— Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (@nidcom_gov) July 20, 2020
“All Evacuees tested Negative to #Covid19 before boarding and are now on a 14 day SELF-ISOLATION as mandated by @NCDCgov, @Fmohnigeria and PTF on #COVID-19,” the tweet said.
In the meantime, Nigeria has airlifted hundreds of its citizens across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused over 550,000 deaths globally.
The exercise is part of government efforts to clear the backlog of stranded nationals around the world during the public health emergency.
According to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the evacuation is targeted at least 500 Nigerians on a weekly basis.