Nigerians stranded in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic are on their way home.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 160 Nigerians, including eight infants, made the first batch of evacuees.
They are returning aboard an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 aircraft under the special flight arrangements by the Federal Government for nationals stranded abroad.
In line with the government’s pre-departure infection prevention control guidelines, temperature checks were conducted on the passengers by a special medical team.
The plane departed the Newark International Airport, New Jersey, on Saturday around 8:20 p.m. local time (1:20 a.m. in Nigeria on Sunday).
It is expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, around noon on Sunday.
On arrival, the evacuees would be quarantined for 14 days in Abuja before leaving for their respective destinations in the country.
At the airport to coordinate the departure activities were officials of the Nigerian consulate in New York, led by the Consul-General, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen.
Also, around to bid the evacuees farewell was Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
He was joined by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Amb. Samson Itegboje, among others.
Speaking to newsmen, Okoyen lauded the evacuees for their cooperation and conduct throughout the process.
“It was successful and we are happy that everything was orderly. As you must have observed, the boarding was also orderly,” he said.