Nigeria will on May 10th begin the evacuation of its citizens stranded in the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York.
The consulate-general disclosed this in a notice signed by the Consul-General, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen; on behalf of the Nigerian Missions in the U.S., on Sunday.
According to the notice, no fewer than 700 Nigerians have registered with the missions; in the U.S. for evacuation, which will be done in batches.
It said that the first batch of 270 evacuees would be transported to Abuja; through an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 509.
We expect the plane to depart the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at 9.15 p.m.; and also fly directly to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
As earlier announced by the Federal Government, the flight is at the expense of the evacuees; who will all fly economy class, according to the notice.
“The projected cost for the one-way economy ticket is between 1,300 dollars (N488,800); and 1,700 dollars (N639,200) per adult.
“Please note that over 700 Nigerian nationals have registered with our missions in the USA to be evacuated.
“However, only 270 passengers shall be accommodated in this batch of evacuation.
“Missions will, therefore, attend to applicants on a first come; first served basis and shall prioritise the list of evacuees according to their immigration status.
“This includes the need to consider those stranded with proof of short stay visas; the elderly, families with children and returning students,” it said.
In an interview with newsmen in New York, Okoyen said they would announce the dates for subsequent batches in due course.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government on March 18 imposed restrictions; on travels from 13 countries with high burdens.
The countries are China; Iran; South Korea; Germany; Italy; U.S.; as well as United Kingdom. Also Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, France; Japan, Australia as well as Sweden.
Consequently, many Nigerians, who were on short-term visits to the affected countries, became stranded.