The evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad on account of the coronavirus pandemic will commence next week.
According to The Punch the evacuation will be carried out by the Federal Government as it has planned with two airlines to bring back the citizens at affordable rates.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated that the nationals would be brought back in batches of 200. He made the statement during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.
On the number of people to be evacuated, 2,000 Nigerians in United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, China and other countries had registered for the evacuation after agreeing to subject themselves to mandatory coronavirus testing and 14-day quarantine on arrival in Abuja or Lagos.
To accommodate the returnees on arrival in the country, the minister revealed that the government has been working to put in place adequate isolation centres.
He said, “We have just signed and agreed with two airlines, we negotiated what we feel is very good rates. Since the evacuees are expected to pay, we wanted to get as good a deal as possible. Now, that’s done.
“The next challenge is accommodation; everything has to be absolutely ready. We actually determined when we start that everything should go very smoothly and so, we really want to take all the necessary steps to ensure that would be the case.”
Speaking further, Onyeama said, that government was challenged by insufficient beds at the isolation facilities, hence the decision to fly in 200 persons at a time, adding that the arrangements were being tidied up for the evacuation and quarantine of the returnees.