COVID-19: 265 Nigerians To Arrive Lagos From Dubai On Wednesday – Foreign Ministry

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has said 265 Nigerians will arrive in Lagos from Dubai on Wednesday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Tuesday, ministry spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, said the Emirates Airlines tasked with the transport is scheduled to arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Over 4,000 Nigerians are waiting to be evacuated across the world back home, foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama said on Monday.

Discussions are also ongoing with British Airways to evacuate 300 Nigerians from London on Friday.

Additionally, arrangements are being made with Ethiopian airlines to evacuate Nigerians from New York to Abuja next Monday, the foreign ministry said.

The ministry added that the Dubai evacuation is being carried out in accordance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines.

Evacuees will be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine environment.

The ministry said it has made arrangements 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 foreign ministry said.

 

Read the Ministry’s full statement below:

PRESS RELEASE

No: MFA/PR/2020/10

UPDATE ON THE EVACUATION OF NIGERIANS ABROAD

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of evacuating Nigerians from abroad and in accordance with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines, the evacuees will undergo a mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine in a monitored environment.

In this regard, Emirates Airlines is scheduled to evacuate the first batch of 265 Nigerians from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and they will arrive at 3:00pm on Wednesday, 6th May, 2020 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Arrangements for hotel accommodation in Lagos and Abuja have been made for the evacuation process. The hotels have been inspected by the following: 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 hotels include:
1. Bolingo – 300 rooms
2. App Apartments – 61 rooms
3. Royalty – 80 rooms
4. China International – 200 rooms
5. Belvior – 30 rooms
6. Barcelona – 300 rooms

Discussions are also ongoing with British Airways, through the British High Commission, to evacuate about 300 Nigerians from London on Friday, 8th May, 2020. The flight (BA 9155) will depart London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5, at 07:10am and arrive Lagos at 1:10.

Additionally, arrangements are ongoing with Ethiopian airlines to bring evacuees back to Abuja from New York on Monday 11 May, 2020.

The Federal Government wishes to reassure Nigerian of its continued commitment in ensuring the welfare and safety of all citizens.

Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Tuesday 5th May, 2020.

FG To Evacuate Over 270 Nigerians From U.S. On Sunday

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Nigerian Government has concluded plans to evacuate about 270 Nigerians willing to return home from the United States.

This was disclosed in a statement dated May 3 from the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York.

The consulate explained that a one-way flight has been arranged for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in the US and would take off on Sunday night.

It added that the flight operated by Ethiopian Airlines with a 270-passenger capacity would evacuate travellers at their expense and the returnees would fly economy class.

According to the statement, the flight will depart for Abuja from Newark (EWR) Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, United States, and is expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Monday next week.

It also revealed that over 700 citizens have registered with the Nigerian Missions in the US to be evacuated but only 270 people would be accommodated.

The consulate stressed that applications to be evacuated would be considered on a ‘first-come, first-served basis while the list of evacuees would be treated according to their immigration status.

It said those who have proofs of short-stay visas, the elderly, families with children, and returning students would also be given special attention.

Read the full statement below:

We Won’t Accept Racial Discrimination Against Nigerians, Onyeama Tells China

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has condemned the discrimination against Nigerians and some other Africans living in China.

In his address at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday in Abuja, Onyeama said the Nigerian government has sent strong words to the Chinese authorities.

“We have been engaging with the Chinese government at various levels – at the level of our consulate in Guangzhou where these cases of discrimination and racism have been taking place, and also the federal level in Beijing with our ambassador and embassy in Beijing,” the minister told reporters.

He added, “We have made it clear to the Chinese government unequivocally that under no circumstance will we accept racial discrimination against Nigerians or, indeed Africans or blacks in China. That is the red line for us.

“They have in turn told us that there is no case of that ongoing but clearly, we are seeing on video, I have received reports and we told them that it is unacceptable.”

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

According to Onyeama, Nigeria is extremely disappointed in the way China is treating its citizens and will ensure its citizens are accorded the same rights as other foreigners in the Asian country.

He revealed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was taking definitive steps to address the issue, especially the incidents in Guangzhou.

The minister said, “I have directed our consulate in Guangzhou to systematically detail every single case of discrimination, and every single case of loss or damage suffered by any Nigerian and we will pursue each and every single one very robustly with the Chinese government, if it requires compensation, damages, etc.”

FG Reacts To Alleged Maltreatment Of Nigerians In China

 

The Federal Government has reacted to the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in Guanzhou, China in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, blamed the maltreatment on poor communication by the Chinese authorities.

Onyeama explained that a thorough investigation carried out by the Chinese and Nigerian authorities revealed that a group of Nigerians in the last flight to Guanzhou tested positive for COVID-19 including a Nigerian lady who owns a restaurant in the city.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Buhari Signs Quarantine Order Backing Lockdown Extension

While noting that the Chinese government insisted they be quarantined with strict measures, the minister stressed that the videos circulating online were of Nigerians who flouted the strict measures and the measures to check them were misinterpreted.

According to him, a Nigerian national who tested positive for the virus wanted to leave the hospital after a week of quarantine and when he was restrained, he bit a nurse.

He noted that Nigerian officials have met with Chinese officials to register their displeasure and the Chinese government assured them that they have zero tolerance for racism, adding that they were on top of the situation.

He added that the Chinese government especially the Guanzhou authorities should have communicated with the Nigerian consulate in China.

Onyeama is of the view that efforts towards the quarantine of Nigerians who tested positive to coronavirus, coupled with strict measures to be adopted following the flouting of the quarantine should have been a joint effort between both countries.

COVID-19: What We Are Doing To Bring Back Nigerians Abroad – Onyeama

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Nigerian government has revealed the measures being put in place to address the concerns of Nigerians in the diaspora willing to return home as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, highlighted some of the steps taken by the government to bring back such persons from abroad.

He spoke to reporters at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

READ ALSO: ‘Even The US Is Looking For Help’, SGF Explains Role Of Expected Chinese Experts

Onyeama said, “It has been a while now and I was pointing out that we have written letters to our embassies to give us an indication of the numbers in the various countries and once we have that, we will be able to look at the issues of logistics and how to bring them back.”

He, however, reminded Nigerians living abroad that medical professionals had advised that it was better to stay where they are.

According to the minister, health experts say people travelling from one place to another stand a better chance of getting infected with coronavirus.

He stressed that this does not stop the Nigerian government from facilitating the return of its citizens abroad back into the country.

“We are engaging with our embassies to try and discern how many of our people really do want and need to come back and we will then be able to work out the logistics and how to bring them back,” Onyeama said.

He made the remarks days after the Nigerian government directed all its missions abroad to compile a list of citizens willing to return home.

In a statement on Friday, the Chairman of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, explained that the directive was sequel to requests by some Nigerians stranded abroad in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

VIDEO: Onyeama Reveals Why Foreigners Are Leaving Nigeria Over COVID-19

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has explained why foreign nationals are leaving Nigeria in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He made the clarification while responding to questions at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 which held on Friday in Abuja.

The minister believes the exit of the foreigners does not necessarily have anything to do with the nation’s healthcare system.

According to him, they may have taken the decision to leave Nigeria as a result of the system that works best for them should any situation arise.

“I think the foreigners who are leaving, whether there is something they know that we don’t know, I think it is a lot more innocent than that,” the ministers told reporters at the briefing.

He added, “It is basically a case where people are more familiar with the health systems in their various countries and so prefer to go to the various countries so in the event that they might have to be confined, they will be in more familiar surroundings.

“And they will also have access to the medical practitioners that they are used to and, of course, facilities that they are used to. So that’s really the reason.”

Onyeama stressed that the countries whose citizens have been evacuated still have their ambassadors, heads of missions, and other staff in Nigeria and have no plans of leaving.

Watch the video below:

US Visa Ban: Pompeo ‘Optimistic’ Of Review After Meeting Onyeama

Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama speaks to the press with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(R), at the Department of State on February 4, 2020 in Washington,DC. AFP

 

The United States and Nigeria voiced hope Tuesday that the Trump administration would soon lift onerous visa restrictions slapped on Africa’s most populous country, which said it was “blindsided” by its ally.

On a previously scheduled visit to Washington, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said he sought more information on President Donald Trump’s latest immigration crackdown announced last week which targeted Nigeria and five other countries.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meeting Onyeama, said that Trump took action partly due to the “terrorist threat” in West Africa, where Nigeria has fought alongside the United States against Islamist extremists.

Nigeria remains a “strategic partner” but Trump restricted visas as it has “room to grow in sharing important national security information.”

“I’m optimistic that’s going to happen,” Pompeo told reporters.

Striking a diplomatic tone, Onyeama said his talks were “very gratifying” but acknowledged, with a smile, that Trump’s move caught Nigeria off-guard.

“We were somewhat blindsided by the announcement of the visa restrictions,” Onyeama said.

He said that Nigeria had already been looking to address US concerns, such as providing information on suspected terrorists and embedding electronic data into passports.

“We know, and the US officials have also confirmed, that we have been able to tick most of those boxes,” he said.

The lingering problem, he said, involved how to handle lost and stolen Nigerian passports.

He said Nigeria was putting in place a system that would make data from such passports “immediately available” to all members of Interpol, the global law enforcement body.

“We hope to have that up and running very soon,” he said. “Hopefully, once that has been achieved, we look forward to being taken off this visa restriction list.”

Trump came to office vowing to impose border restrictions and notoriously was quoted as using a vulgar epithet for African and other developing nations that send immigrants to the United States.

Unlike a controversial order days after he took office that essentially banned entry to citizens from a number of Muslim-majority countries, the latest restrictions primarily involve foreigners who seek to immigrate rather than visit.

Along with Nigeria, Trump imposed the curbs on nationals from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania.

AFP

Border Closure: No Country Is Targeted, Nigerian Govt Tells Ghana

Photo: Twitter- @GeoffreyOnyeama

 

 

The Nigerian Government says there is no ulterior motive in its decision to close the nation’s borders.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this during a meeting with two Ghanaian ministers on Thursday in Abuja.

He told Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration, Shirley Botchwey, and the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, that no country was targeted in the border closure.

READ ALSO: Buhari Orders Probe Of NDDC Operations From 2001

According to the minister, Nigeria, as a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), respects the rules of the regional body.

He gave assurance that free movement of persons and goods would continue, stressing that the border closure was targeted at criminal activities and not countries.

Onyeama also informed the Ghanaian ministers that the Nigerian government would ensure that issues raised by their country would be looked into and addressed as soon as possible.

Read the tweets by the minister below:

Why Onyeama Did Not Appear Before Reps – Ministry

A file photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

 

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reacted to allegations that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, ignored the summons by the House of Representatives.

In a statement on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, the ministry stated that the minister could not have ignored invitations by the lawmakers to brief them on the spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa.

After a long debate on the issue at Tuesday’s plenary, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila noted that he was informed that the ministry failed to honour several invitations by the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yusuf.

He alleged that Onyeama also refused to respond when the leadership of the House stepped into the matter and warned ministers against shunning invitations by the parliament.

Gbajabiamila threatened that the House would invoke relevant sections of the Constitution against erring government officials, adding that he would report the minister to the President.

But in its response, the ministry stated that there was “no iota of truth whatsoever” in the claims by the Speaker.

It said, “The truth of the matter is that by a letter dated September 9, 2019, by the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was invited to a meeting with the Leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 11.00 am in the Honourable Speaker’s Office.

“By letter dated September 10, 2019, the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Chief of Staff to the Honourable Speaker, informing him that the Minister would be in the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at that time, and that he looked forward to a meeting at a time to be mutually agreed on.”

According to the statement, Onyeama and the ministry respected the institution of the National Assembly.

Xenophobia: We Need High-Level Engagement With South African Government – Onyeama

 

Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that the Nigerian Government needs to hold high-level engagement with South African authorities to tackle the spate of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in the country.

Mr Onyeama, a ministerial nominee, while responding to a question by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, during screening at the senate on Monday, explained that a bi-national meeting between presidents of both countries has been set up and the issue should be addressed with political will.

“What I believe is the issue, is really one of communication and direct oversight of law enforcement agencies in South Africa. This seems to be the real problem for Nigerians in South Africa.

“We have set up a bi-national meeting at the level of Presidents, so it’s important that we organise very quickly the next meeting, so this matter can also be addressed so it becomes an issue addressed with political will and by the highest level of government of South Africa.”

READ ALSO: I’m Going To Pioneer Serious Taxation For Wealthy Nigerians – Aregbesola

He added that after consultation with members of the union of Nigerians living in South Africa, the trust deficit between them and the South African police remained an issue, which has made a cordial working relationship between both parties suffer.

“Members of the union told me that the problem they were having is that they know the criminal elements among the Nigerian community and they will like a situation where they can go to the law enforcement agencies to alert them of those criminals so that actions can be taken quickly, but because of the trust deficit between the Nigerians and the South Africa police, they are not able to work with the authorities.

“There has to be a hotline between myself if re-appointed, and the ministry of foreign affairs of South Africa. Once there is any sign of problems on any Nigerian, to get it immediately across to the highest level of government in South Africa to engage with our high commission to start addressing the issue.

“The higher echelon of the police in South Africa can engage directly with the Nigerian Union of South Africa and this is a framework I tried to create. To sign this MoU, we need high-level engagement with them.”

VP Osinbajo To Attend Ramaphosa’s Presidential Inauguration In South Africa

Agricultural Investment Will Bring Nigeria Out Of Poverty, Says Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo addressing an audience in August 2018.

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is expected to attend the inauguration of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Saturday.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande on Friday, Osinbajo will represent the country alongside several other heads of State and Government from Africa and beyond who are expected at the swearing-in ceremony.

READ ALSO: Zamfara Election: INEC Holds Emergency Meeting On Supreme Court’s Judgment

He added that Osinbajo will “depart Nigeria on Friday evening, accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Osinbajo is “expected back in Abuja on Saturday evening”, he added.

Plane Crash: FG Condoles With Family Of Former Ambassador Bashua

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, addresses members of the diplomatic community in Abuja on… February 20, 2019

 

 

The Federal Government has sent its condolences to the family of the late former Ambassador Abiodun Oluremi Bashua who was among the 149 passengers and 8 crew members that boarded the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Sunday, on its way to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all on board.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Edokpa, described the death as ‘untimely’, adding that the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the ministry were in great shock.

“The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and members of Staff of the Ministry received the sad news of his death with great shock and prayed that the Almighty God grant his family and the nation, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

READ ALSO: Pilot Of Crashed Plane Reported ‘Difficulties’, Asked To Return – Ethiopian Airlines

Ambassador Bashua was a seasoned UN Expert who had extensive experience in several United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa.

He joined the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2009 and was appointed Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur in 2014 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Ambassador Bashua also served as Secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.