About 300 Nigerians stranded in the United Kingdom will be brought home in a charter flight on Friday (today).
The evacuees will on arrival in Abuja undergo the mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine and tests for COVID-19. They are part of 4,000 Nigerians being evacuated from foreign countries.
The first batch of returnees from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, landed in Lagos on Wednesday.
Speaking during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the returnees would be isolated in hotels in the Federal Capital Territory.
He stated, “We are hoping to have another flight tomorrow (today) coming from the UK. This flight would be coming to Abuja, but they would be landing in Lagos first and then fly to Abuja.
“The reasons are these: We have been mindful of the cost to the passengers flying home. We have tried as much as possible to minimise the costs, appreciating that a lot of them stayed out much longer than they would have needed or wanted to.”
He acknowledged that most of the returning citizens preferred isolation in Lagos, but pleaded for understanding, promising to make arrangements for their return to Lagos after their discharge from quarantine.
“We would make arrangements to facilitate the return to Lagos of those who need to be in Lagos rather than Abuja, but the passengers really have to bear with us. Two or three days later, we would have another flight coming into Abuja,” the minister said.
Onyeama explained that the Nigerian High Commission in India was in the process of negotiating with selected airlines to evacuate stranded Nigerians in that country.