NIGERIAN evacuees returning to the country from abroad are due to start arriving on Saturday after the Lagos State government secured a 300-bed facility to accommodate any of them who test coronavirus positive.
Over recent weeks, Nigerian missions abroad have been asked to step up plans to evacuate citizens who wish to return to the country from abroad. Under the arrangement, anyone returning from aboard onboard specially chartered flights which will be used for the exercise, will be placed in quarantine for 14 days and only allowed home after they have been tested and certified as negative.
However, the programme suffered a setback after several of the evacuees tested positive for coronavirus and the Lagos State government said it lacked the facilities to accommodate that number of people. Now, the matter appears to have been resolved after testing at source was introduced and only those who tested negative were allowed to travel.
Also, the Lagos State government has secured a 300-bed facility where it can isolate anyone who tests positive on arrival. Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s foreign minister, said that about 200 persons would be lifted in the first phase of the exercise aboard an Emirate flight due to arrive from Dubai.
Mr Onyeama added that another set of 300 Nigerians would be flown in on Friday from the UK aboard a British Airways flight bound for Lagos, while the government was working out a deal with Air Peace for another flight on Saturday. A total of 4,000 individuals wanted to participate in the programme but it appears that the numbers will be far less.
“Since the flight is coming empty from London, we have negotiated with the British government to bring 300 or a bit fewer Nigerians. Ideally, we would like the flight to come to Abuja as we have secured 1,000 hotel rooms in Abuja but it is not possible as the flight is bound for Lagos,” Mr Onyeama said.