The United States Mission in Nigeria has evacuated 997 Americans home to be reunited with their families and friends following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
The US Consul General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, who disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, said from April 6 to April 8, the US Consulate-organised chartered flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Ethiopian Airlines and repatriated 850 Americans from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, to the US.
According to her, the figure included the 147 US citizens who departed Abuja on April 4.
Pierangelo said: “These repatriation flights were made possible by the tremendous efforts of the US Consulate team and great cooperation from its Nigerian partners.
“This includes the Ministry of Aviation, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Lagos State Government.
“The State Department’s effort to bring Americans home during the COVID-19 pandemic has required a remarkable diplomatic and logistical effort.
“As of April 8, 2020, the Department of State had coordinated the repatriation of 50,339 Americans from 94 countries since January 29, 2020.
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“In times of emergency, the United States’ Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas. This has been three weeks in the making.
“We have 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 the safe passage of the Americans traveling 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.”
She noted that the US Mission would remain committed to working closely with the Government of Nigeria and the various health authorities to keep everyone healthy and safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (NAN)