Nigeria has begun evacuating over 2,000 Nigerian citizens who have expressed their wish to leave the US, UK and other European countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs minister Godfrey Onyeama said they have contracted two airlines to fly their citizens home from these countries.
“We are in touch with our various embassies around the world and we are already collating names. We have also selected the two airlines that will be responsible for the evacuation.”
“The numbers of those to be brought are high and the places where we can isolate them are not enough for the travelers, so we will have to do it in a staggered fashion and together with Nema and the Ministry of Health,” he said.
“We will have to go with an agreement to be bringing them according to the number of beds and so forth that are available. We are almost ready to go.”
Those being evacuated must undergo a mandatory Covid-19 test in their host countries and also undertake a compulsory 14-day quarantine on arrival in line with the guidelines issued by the National Centre for Disease Control. In addition, they will be evacuated and quarantined at their own costs.
These conditions were issued by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, headed by Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The announcement by Nigeria comes a day after Kenya, through Foreign Affairs PS Amb. Macharia Kamau ruled out the evacuation of Kenyans stranded abroad in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, terming it impractical.
“We have 3 million Kenyans out there. If we were to evacuate just one percent, those are 30,000 people. Just imagine the logistics. Our planes will have to crisscross the globe. Just imagine bringing 30,000 people back. Do we even have the quarantine facilities?” posed Amb. Macharia.
“Those asking us to send planes should know that it is difficult. Some Kenyans are Hungary, some in China, others in Italy. That means planes will be hovering all over the world. Ndege sio matatu bwana (A plane is not a matatu).”