The U.S. Mission in Nigeria on Thursday said it has helped 997 Americans return home to reunite with family and friends amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Between April 6 to 8, the US Consulate organised three chartered flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Ethiopian Airlines to repatriate 850 Americans from the Murtala Muhammed Internal Airport in Lagos.
This was in addition to the 147 U.S. citizens who departed Abuja on April 4.
On March 29, Israel also commenced the evacuation of its citizens resident in Abuja.
“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,” the US diplomatic mission said in its statement.
As of April 8, 2020, the Department of State has coordinated the repatriation of 50,339 Americans from 94 countries since January 29, 2020.
“This has been three weeks in the making,” United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo, said.
“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.”
Pierangelo added that 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 COVID-19 pandemic.