The United States Mission in Nigeria has repatriated 997 Americans back to their homeland to reunite with family and friends during this time of COVID-19 pandemic. A statement from the US consulate in Lagos noted that from the 6th-8th of April, three U.S. Consulate-organized chartered flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Ethiopian Airlines repatriated 850 American citizens from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos to the United States.
“This is in addition to the 147 U.S. citizens who departed Abuja on April 4,” it said. The statement also noted that the U.S. government has pledged more than $7 million in health and humanitarian funding to Nigeria in response to the pandemic that will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination.
The statement further said that the United States will be providing nearly $274 million to help dozens of countries to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), furthering America’s commitment to humanitarian assistance and global health. The statement added that as of the 8th of April, the Department of State has coordinated the repatriation of 50,339 Americans from 94 countries since January 29, 2020. United States Consul General, Claire Pierangelo also stated that in times of emergency, the United States Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas.
“This has been three weeks in the making. We had more than 50 people working on this on a daily basis to make sure that we can find the Americans, get the planes, secure flight clearances for the planes to land here and also ensure safe passage of the Americans travelling to the airport since the city is on lockdown. It was an enormous effort and I am incredibly proud of my team. We appreciate all the help from our Nigerian partners.
We couldn’t have done this without them,” Consul General Pierangelo said. She further noted that U.S. Mission remains committed to working closely with the Government of Nigeria and the various health authorities to keep everyone healthy and safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile Nigerians living in the United Kingdom, UK must undergo a £350–that’s nearly N166,000–testing for coronavirus before they can be evacuated, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission says. Nigerians affected have expressed displeasure at the latest requirement, saying it was not part of conditions initially given to them.