Evacuation Flights To End On August 25 – PTF

 

The Nigerian Government has concluded plans to end evacuation flights following the repatriation of thousands of citizens stranded in various parts of the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Boss Mustapha, who is the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, disclosed this to reporters on Monday in Abuja.

“We wish to state that all evacuation flights will end on August 25, 2020, after which airports will be given sufficient time to prepare for reopening,” he said.

Following the outbreak of the disease which brought the world on its knees, thousands of Nigerians trapped abroad had indicated their interest to return home.

While some of those seeking to be evacuated had travelled for holiday, business, and education purposes, others left Nigeria in search of greener pastures but only got to the foreign land to become victims of human traffickers.

In the last few months, the Federal Government had partnered some groups and organisations to evacuate its citizens back home.

PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha, briefs reporters in Abuja on August 17, 2020.

 

Away from the evacuation of stranded persons, Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) commended the level of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols in various schools.

This comes as students in Senior Secondary School 3 classes begin the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

“Today, the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE) examinations commenced all over the country, like in other West African States, and the PTF is happy to note the high level of compliance with the protocols for the re-opening of exit classes,” the PTF chairman stated.

He added, “It is in this light that we appreciate the call by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) for the reopening of tertiary institutions.

“As a listening government, we wish to state that education is topmost on the priority list and the reopening of our institutions remain critical, within set safety parameters.”

Mustapha, however, decried that while a good number of Nigerians were sharing their experiences with the coronavirus and encouraging others to take responsibility, a few others were bent on spreading misleading information.

He stressed that the war against COVID-19 would only be won when the people take responsibility individually and collectively.

The SGF urged Nigerians to continue to comply with the measures, wear their face masks properly, wash their hands regularly, stay away from crowds, maintain social distancing, and join the campaign to curb the virus.

170 Stranded Nigerians Return From Dubai

The aircraft conveying the stranded Nigerians from Dubai. Credit: NIDCOM

 

One hundred and seventy Nigerians have returned from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Friday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on board the Fly Dubai airlines.

According to the agency, the returnees who arrived on Friday night came on board one of three free flights offered by the UAE government.

The UAE government offered the gesture to Nigerians whose documentation expired since March 1 and were given till August 17 to leave the country.

All evacuees tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are now on a mandatory 14-day self-isolation as part of the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force.

This development comes three days after 292 more Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE.

On Thursday, NIDCOM said 175 Nigerians returned from Uganda.

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As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.

FG Evacuates 324 Nigerians From US

The stranded Nigerians at the Newark Airport, New Jersey are being expected into the country July 18, 2020. Credit: Geoffrey Onyeama

 

The Federal Government has evacuated another batch of 324 Nigerians who are stranded in the United States of America.

This was revealed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Saturday via Twitter.

According to him, the Nigerian returnees are being expected into the country from Newark Airport, New Jersey.

Onyeama noted that the flight left the American soil on Friday and is due to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 15:35 pm today.

The Minister explained that following the development of the third evacuation of these citizens, two more evacuation flights are expected from the country on July 28 and 31 respectively.

READ ALSO: 335 Stranded Nigerians Return From U.S.

“The third evacuation flight from the #USA has departed Newark, New Jersey to Abuja with 324 Nigerians. The flight departed 23:27hrs on Friday 17th to arrive at about 15:35 pm today.

“Two more evacuation flights are expected from the US to Abuja and Lagos, on the 28th and 31st of this month,” he said.

The Nigerian government had on July 4 evacuated 335 stranded citizens from the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) who confirmed this to Channels Television said the evacuees tested negative for COVID-19 before boarding.

It, however, stated that they would remain in 14-day isolation before reuniting with their families.

Over 2,000 Nigerians have so far been evacuated from various parts of the world, among those who have indicated interest to return home following the COVID-19 pandemic.

See Photos Below:

29 Nigerians Stranded In Lebanon Successfully Evacuated

 

29 Nigerians who were initially stranded in Lebanon have been successfully evacuated to the country.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), disclosed this on Saturday evening.

Among them is Temitope Arowolo who was said to have been wrongly accused of murder by her Lebanese employer and Peace Busari who was put on sale on Facebook by her Syrian Employer in Lebanon.

 

[PHOTO] NIDCOM: Some of the Nigerians evacuated from Lebanon.

They were rescued by the Nigerian mission in Lebanon.

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We Have Quite A Number Of People In Prison For Drugs In Indonesia – Abike Dabiri


 

The evacuees who landed in Abuja this afternoon were received by representatives from the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, the chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora and the Special Assistant to the Oyo State government.

In an exclusive interview with Channels TV, Peace Busari confirmed that was indeed put up for sale by her employer who has since been arrested by the Lebanese government.

Meanwhile, NIDCOM has also disclosed that an Air Peace aircraft is in the process of evacuating stranded Nigerians in Malaysia and Thailand, the Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has said.

“Chartered @airpeace flight APK-7813 conveying Stranded Nigerians from Malaysia and Thailand departing Kaula Lumpur to Abuja and Lagos today with Evacuees from Malaysia and Thailand onboard,” the commission said in a tweet.

This is the first evacuation from both countries since the coronavirus pandemic instigated lockdowns across the world, according to NIDCOM.

It also noted that all evacuees have tested negative to COVID-19 and will proceed on a 14-day self-isolation on arrival.

Thousands of Nigerians have been evacuated back home from across the world since the pandemic disrupted world travel.

Nigerians Evacuated From UK Arrive In Abuja

An Air Peace flight coveying Nigerians from the UK, arriving at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Friday. Photos: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

Some Nigerians who were stranded in the United Kingdom following the COVID-19 lockdown have arrived in Abuja.

They arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 7:54 pm on Friday, hours after an initial flight from the UK had landed in Lagos State.

 

 

The returning Nigerians will, thereafter, be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to leave for their various destinations, in line with the NCDC guidelines.

The process is required to ensure the coronavirus-status of every returnee is ascertained.

Read Also: Nigerians Evacuated From UK Arrive In Lagos

This comes some days after the Federal Government successfully evacuated the first batch of Nigerians stuck abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, 256 Nigerians arrived in Lagos from Dubai via an Emirates Airline flight.

 

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed that Over 4,000 Nigerians are waiting to be evacuated across the world back home.

According to the ministry, arrangements have been made for hotel accommodations in Lagos and Abuja, which will be used to quarantine the incoming citizens.

 

 

 

“The hotels have been inspected by the “Port Health Services, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IPC,” the ministry said.

The evacuations have become important as the pandemic continues to sweep through the world.

COVID-19 Evacuation: Almost 200 US-Based Nigerians Interested In Returning Home – Onyeama

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffery Onyeama, has said that almost 200 Nigerians based in the US have indicated interest to return to the country as efforts are on to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have started to get a greater number of Nigerians, especially in the United States, where almost 200 have now indicated their willingness to return,” the minister said on Wednesday in Abuja, during the daily briefings by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Speaking further, he noted that the protocols for evacuating Nigerians in the Diaspora have been completed and the country is in a much “stronger and better position” to bring back Nigerians interested in returning to the country.

“We are engaging with our embassy in China and our High Commissioners in London and also in France to work out all the logistics but things are now beginning to fall in place and we are getting the sense of what needs to be done.”

Read Also: We’re In A Better Position To Bring Nigerians Outside The Country Back – Onyeama

Several countries, including Canada, Israel, and the United States, have evacuated citizens of different countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Nigeria has just commenced major evacuations.

The government had, however, since announced plans to bring those interested in returning and asked its foreign missions to compile names.

Stressing that the evacuations had been part of the government’s plans since the international airports were closed, Onyeama explained that the process was delayed to enable the government to sort out the logistics involved.

He said, “The response is not as a result of letters or whatever that has been coming in from Nigerians in the Diaspora as has been mentioned in some media houses but actually something that was taken up by the task force right from the beginning.

“Of course, at that time we didn’t have all the isolation centres in place and all the other logistical arrangements in place. So for that reason, we kept it in abeyance while we were putting those things in place. And hence now that we have all those things in place, we are in a stronger and better position to bring Nigerians outside the country back.”

Mr Onyeama directed all Nigerians interested in returning into the country to work with the country’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that,” he said.

“It should be channelled through them because it is with them that we are collating the names and making all the arrangements.”

Although Nigeria has not commenced full-scale evacuations, the country is working with neighbouring countries and is facilitating the return of many Nigerians who got caught up in the COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by countries.

Mr Onyeama gave examples of some instances during the briefing, adding that all those who are returning will observe the mandatory 14-day isolation.
He said, “There was a doctor that was part of the team that was caught outside the country. He made his way to Benin Republic and we were able to engage with the government of the Republic of Benin to give him passage through and he came into the country yesterday.

“We have 67 Nigerians, including children, men and women, that were in Cote d I’voire and we needed to engage the government of Togo, the government of Benin for them to be able to go through. They are now at the Nigerian border and we got the authorisation of the government of Benin for them to come into the country. They will be in isolation for the mandatory 14 days once they have come in.

“We have another 24 Nigerians in Togo in a hotel. They are going to be tested. We’ve also got the government of Benin’s approval for them to travel through Beninoise territory to come into Nigeria, possibly by tomorrow.

“We’ve arranged also where they will also be confined when they come into the country. We are extremely grateful to the government of Togo and the government of Benin who have cooperated with us and made this possible.”

Iran Orders Evacuation Of Over 60,000 People From Flood-Hit Oil City

An aerial view taken on April 09, 2019 shows the Karun River which has burst its banks in Ahvaz, the capital of Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan which has been badly affected by flooding over the past few weeks.  ATTA KENARE / AFP

 

Authorities ordered tens of thousands of residents of the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz to evacuate immediately on Wednesday as floodwaters entered the capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, state television reported.

The province’s governor, Gholamreza Shariati, said he ordered the evacuation of five districts as a “precautionary and preventive move to avert any danger”, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported.

The districts have an estimated population of between 60,000 and 70,000.

Shariati asked young men to “help us in building dykes and to assist in the evacuation of women, children and the elderly.”

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“The Dez and Karkheh rivers have for the first time joined each other near Ahvaz and are now flowing towards the city,” Shariati told state TV, adding this was unprecedented.

“These two rivers are far away from each other, but the huge volume of floodwater caused them to join up.”

Shariati said a sixth district was also put on standby for possible evacuation.

Khuzestan province has been struggling with major floods due to heavy rains as well as floodwater coming from the north.

It is the latest in a series of unprecedented floods that have hit the normally arid country since March 19, killing at least 70 people in 20 of Iran’s 31 provinces.

The country’s northeast was first swamped on March 19 before the west and southwest of the country were hit on March 25.

 Food is priority 

On April 1 the west and southwest were again swamped by floods when heavy rains returned.

The huge inflow of water forced authorities to release large volumes of water from the province’s largest dams, which is now threatening some of the cities downstream including the Ahvaz region, home to 1.3 million.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of six new cities along the Karkheh river on Saturday as the situation neared “critical” status.

“We’ve been trying to manage the water … most of it has been diverted toward other channels,” Ahvaz Mayor Mansour Katanbaf told ISNA on Sunday.

But on Monday a hospital in danger of being flooded was evacuated in Ahvaz as officials battled to contain the rising waters.

Emergency services have been left scrambling to prevent further loss of life and to provide relief to flood-stricken residents.

“Delivering food and hygienic goods to (shelter) camps is our primary priority and we have provided emergency accommodations for about 44,000 people,” Iran Red Crescent’s head of Relief and Rescue Organisation Morteza Salimi told AFP on Tuesday.

In the city of Susangerd, swamped by floodwaters, an AFP team dispatched to the region saw residents living in tents setup on the roofs of their homes as what had previously been roads had become canals marked by the palm trees lining the streets.

Red Crescent choppers were providing food and basic goods to regions cutoff by floods, with villagers rushing to receive the help as they approached.

The flooding across Iran has caused damage worth 150 trillion Iranian rials — more than $1 billion at the free market rate — according to an official estimate given by lawmaker Mehrdad Lahooti.

AFP

Cracking’ Sydney Tower Residents Evacuated Again

Fire trucks stay in front of Opal Tower during an inspection by firefighters and engineers in Sydney on December 25, 2018. Australian police evacuated thousands of people in west Sydney late Christmas Eve after residents reported hearing a “loud crack” from a 38-storey building.
SAEED KHAN / AFP

 

Residents in a recently completed Sydney high-rise apartment block that made “cracking noises” on Christmas Eve were moved out again Thursday as engineers work “round the clock” to fix the issue.

Police and emergency services evacuated some 300 people in the 38-storey Opal Tower in the Sydney Olympic Park and other nearby buildings on Monday after reports of “cracking noises”.

The building moved “one to two millimetres” during the incident and authorities said they found a crack on the 10th floor.

Some two-thirds of the units were declared safe to return to Tuesday morning, but 51 others were declared “structurally unsafe”.

The issue threw the Christmas plans of affected residents into disarray, with some telling local media they had to sleep in their cars while waiting to return home.

Others said that even though their apartments were deemed to be safe, they were too afraid to live in them.

Builder Icon on Thursday defended the tower as “structurally sound”.

“The temporary relocation is a precautionary measure to allow engineers to work around the clock to comprehensively investigate and remediate the site in the quickest time frame possible, without further disruption to residents,” it added in a statement.

Icon added that residents would be provided with accommodation and compensation, and investigators from global engineering firm WSP and its majority owner Japanese construction company Kajima would lead the investigation.

Residents were told at a meeting on Thursday it could be up to 10 days before they would be allowed back in the tower, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The New South Wales state government is already conducting an investigation into the building’s structural integrity.

The 392-unit tower opened this year and is near the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

AFP

U.S. Embassy In Congo Says Family Members Can Return After Evacuation

congoFamily members of U.S. personnel in Democratic Republic of Congo can return to the country, the U.S. embassy said late on Friday, one week after ordering them to leave over safety concerns related to the volatile political climate.

At least 50 people were killed last month in anti-government protests in the capital Kinshasa and the United States has slapped sanctions on three members of President Joseph Kabila’s inner circle for allegedly committing human rights abuses and helping block planned elections.

“The order to depart was made last week out of an abundance of caution considering the unstable and unpredictable security situation in the DRC,” the embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“In our latest re-evaluation, we have assessed that security conditions permit the return of family members,” it added.

Kabila, who has ruled Africa’s top copper producer since his father’s assassination in 2001, is barred by the constitution from standing in the next presidential election, originally scheduled for next month.

Kabila’s opponents say he is intentionally delaying the elections to cling to power and have vowed protests to force him from office this year. The government, however, says the delay is due to budgetary and logistical obstacles.