COVID-19: UK, Nigeria Govts Cooperate To Repatriate Nationals
Over 253 British nationals have departed Nigeria for the United Kingdom on Friday on a special return chartered flight organised by both governments, it emerged.
The plane had earlier brought back 200 Nigerian nationals from the UK via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
In a statement on Friday, the British High Commissioner for Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said this is the eighth repatriation flight organised for Britons wanting to return from Nigeria, since the closure of country’s airports on March 23 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Premium Times reports.
I am so pleased we were able to help Nigerians get back to Nigeria whilst also helping more British nationals return home to the UK. We work around the clock to support British nationals who remain in the country.
I want to offer a huge thank you to the Nigerian government for their support and assistance in arranging these flights. The strong cooperation we have had from our Nigerian partners demonstrates the enduring bonds between our two countries.
The Commissioner added that;
British High Commission had been working with the Nigerian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Aviation, others to arrange the flights.
Laing stressed that;
The UK will continue to work closely with the Nigerian government in the future, not just on flights for stranded travellers in both our countries, but on fighting COVID-19 and building a better future for Nigeria.
Since the coronavirus broke out across the globe, many countries have shut down their borders and airports.
However, most governments have also engaged in bringing back their nationals stranded in other countries.
Nigeria in its effort to evacuate its citizens, brought back the first 265 persons on May 6 with an Emirates flight.
The flight had to return to Dubai a few minutes after take off because a pregnant woman, gave birth on board.
Nigeria’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, during the presidential task force briefing on May 7 said more repatriations were expected to be undertaken in the coming days.