FG to liaise with British Airways on evacuation of over 500 Nigerians in US, UK, others

Federal Government on Thursday expressed its readiness to liaise with British Airways on the evacuation of over 500 Nigerians living in the United States and the United Kingdom who have expressed interest to return to Nigeria.

Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this during an interactive session with the leadership of the National Assembly led by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who urged the PTF to stagger the number considering the limitation in the available isolation facilities.

According to the Task Force, about 300 Nigerians are to be evacuated from the United States, 200 are to be evacuated from the United Kingdom, and the undisclosed number of Nigerian nationals from other countries.

Tribune Online reports that Mr Mustapha who doubles the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), assured that the Federal Government is doing its “utmost best to evacuate all our citizens.”

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While noting that the Americans who were evacuated from Nigeria paid for the entire cost of their travels, he expressed Federal Government’s readiness to pay part of the cost of airlifting Nigerian citizens “because of the predicament of our people.”

He said the government will “probably reduce the cost to see how the government will intervene since it is the responsibility of government to ensure the welfare of the people and their security.”

He maintained that the Nigerian government has over the years taken the responsibility of providing assistance to any of its citizens who got stranded during any international football competitions.

In the same vein, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, explained that the Ministry has been in touch with the UK Mission to see the visibility of using the British Airways which is coming to evacuate the British nationals, to airlift all those who have expressed interest in returning back to Nigeria as the pandemic continues to ravage all the countries of the world.

According to him, the Presidential Task Force has been requested to fund the exercise in order to make the evacuation possible.

While responding to modalities put in place to adhere to the 14-days quarantine period, the Minister disclosed that all the citizens who will be evacuated will be quarantined in the available facilities rather than the self-isolation.

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