Wednesday, 13 May 2020 12:16

FG Halts Evacuation Of 200 Nigerians From Canada

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The Federal Government has cancelled the planned evacuation of 200 stranded Nigerians from Canada, The Nation has learnt.

The 200 were billed for evacuation on Wednesday.

In a statement on Monday, the Nigeria High Commission in Canada stated that an arrangement had been concluded with a local airline for the airlifting of the pasaangers.

But the exercise has been cancelled following the Federal Government announcement that subsequent evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad would be staggered due to lack of accommodation for the mandatory 14 -day isolation of returness.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama had on Monday said the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on Covid-19 had reached its saturation point following the evacuation of 678 Nigerians from United Arab Emirate (UAE), United Kingdom (UK) and United States ((U.S) in the last one week.

He said further airlifting would have to wait until the current returnees in isolation centre are discharged.

He said the accommodation available to PTF was 600 coupled with medical advice against overstreaching the personnel at the isolation facilities.

Owing to these, the Federal Government announced the airlifting of Nigerians from Canada has been cancelled with a new date to be announced.

The cancellation was confirmed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinald Nwoye.

He said: “The planned evacuation has been cancelled with no new date to be announced.”

But for the cancellation, it said the plane would have picked the prospective passengers from two locations in Toronto and Alberta.

According to the flight schedule, the aircraft was expected to pick the first set from the Pearson International Airport, Toronto.

From there, it was to fly to the Calgary International Airport, Alberta, a distance of 2,915 km, to load the second set of passengers.

The aircraft was to depart Alberta for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where the evacuees would be moved into isolation for 14 days.

The one-way flight will cost each prospective evacuee between $1,130 (N452,000) and $2,000 (N800,000) depending on the class.

The special evacuation exercise began on Wednesday with the return of 265 Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates.

On Friday, 253 were brought back from the United Kingdom, followed by 160 from the United States on Sunday.

This brings to 678 the total number of Nigerians evacuated by the Federal Government so far.

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