COVID-19: Nigerian Government To Use Nigerian Airlines For Evacuation

NIGERIA’S Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama has said that henceforth, subsequent evacuations of Nigerian nationals will be carried out by indigenous airlines stating that some flights are already scheduled with Nigerian airlines.

This is just as he announced that government will be staggering subsequent repatriations into the country as it says it has stretched itself thin and cannot deal with the barrage of evacuation requests.

Onyeama spoke during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19, stating that it has over 600 evacuees in various accommodations in Lagos and Abuja.

He said,”Another issue that has been on the media is using Nigerian Airlines. Again the carrier that came from the UAE is not a government organized one and the one from the UK was coming in already and the one that came from the US was one that was arranged pretty much private sector initiative.

“The government is mindful of the importance and need to use Nigerian airlines and we are happy to  say that the pipeline flights, the flights that we  are in the process of arranging are all Nigerian carriers and henceforth going forward we hope that we will be using only Nigerian carriers,” he said.

On the reason it plans to stagger return of Nigerians from other countries, it ascribed it to government’s ability to handle all the cases at once as they come in especially medically.

Foreign Affairs Minister said,” We have over 600 evacuees in various accommodations in Lagos and Abuja and we are reaching, as I understand from our medical people: saturation point, the maximum we can really cope with and be able to deliver adequately and professionally the services and the care this would mean we will be staggering flights in evacuating Nigerians and making sure we deal with the ones we have n place before bringing back others.

“We certainly hope in a period of time we will bring back some of the others out there. We have Nigerians in China, India, Canada, South Africa, Sudan, France, Lebanon, Egypt and all this really call to question our absorptive capacity to take in such large numbers and clearly our system are strained so we really have to take it easier.”

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