TWO hundred and fifty-three (253) Nigerian evacuees from the United Kingdom have landed at the Murtala Muhammed international Airport (MMIA) 48 hours after the256 Nigerians arrived the country from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This is just as the same aircraft evacuated about 258 British Nationals from the country.
The Nigerian evacuees arrived on a British Airways Boeing 747 flight BA9155 with registration number G-CIVO at 1345 hours and parked at E55 .
The acraft pushed back at 1743hrs with 258pax and 34 crew and was airborne at 1801 hrs
The passengers who arrived are expected to be ferried to Abuja where they will undergo mandatory isolation for 14 days after which if they are negative from the COVID-19 virus will be allowed to go to their families.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffery Onyeama at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing had explained that the constraint of Nigeria in bringing back its nationals is hotel accommodation.
He however apologized for the glitch in the transfer of passengers from Lagos to Abuja, especially for the long hours at the tarmac explaining that the situation was new and they unfortunately did not get it right.
Onyeama said, ” The challenge with the flight was that it cannot come to Abuja, we wanted it to but British Airways insisted that the people they were coming to pick were in Lagos and if they went to Abuja they would exceed the hours.
” Unfortunately, we didn’t get it right. Passengers had to wait very long hours in Lagos before before connecting, it is a most regrettable situation. As at the last report, they are ready to come to Abuja where they will be quarantined.”
” However, next time we will ensure the flights go direct to where they need to be quarantined.”
He stated that due to lack of facilities in Lagos where the aircraft would land, the evacuees will be transported to Abuja where there are enough facilities for isolation and once their two weeks is done something will be worked out to return them to Lagos which was the initial final destination of most of the passengers.
No fewer than 700 Nigerians have indicated interest in returning from the United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.