U.S. repatriates 997 nationals from Nigeria over Covid-19

The United States (U.S.) Mission in Nigeria has repatriated home a total of 997 Americans over the challenge posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Public Affairs Section (PAS) said.

The airlift from April 6 to 8, organised by the U.S. Consulate in three chartered flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Ethiopian Airlines, repatriated 850 Americans from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and 147 citizens from Abuja on April 4.

“These repatriation flights were made possible by a tremendous effort by the U.S. Consulate team and great cooperation from Nigerian partners, including the Ministry of Aviation, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Lagos State Government,” a PAS statement noted.

It disclosed that by a remarkable diplomatic and logistical effort, the State Department, as of April 8, “has coordinated the repatriation of 50,339 Americans from 94 countries since January 29, 2020” over the pandemic. 

The U.S. Consul General, Claire Pierangelo, noted that in times of emergency, the Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas, and “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 traveling to the airport since the city is on lockdown.

“We appreciate all the help from our Nigerian partners. We couldn’t have done this without them.”

According to Pierangelo, the U.S. Mission remains committed to working closely with the Nigerian Government and the various health authorities to keep everyone healthy and safe amid the pandemic, even as the U.S. has pledged over $7 million in health and humanitarian funding to Nigeria over the pandemic, toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention and coordination.

Also, the country is providing nearly $274 million to help dozens of countries combat the virus, furthering her commitment to humanitarian assistance and global health.Meanwhile, the statement urged U.S. citizens who remain in Nigeria seeking Covid-19 information to enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrolment Programme at step.state.gov and check the U.S. Mission Nigeria website and social media handles for messages and updates.

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