Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, Tuesday, at the weekly PTF briefing on COVID-19, said the first set of Nigerians anxious to return to the country would be evacuated soon.

The Federal Government has said it would give priority to evacuees in China when evacuation flights eventually resume.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this on Wednesday during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

He said the government was aware of the harsh climate against nationals in China, noting that they would be repatriated as soon as new modalities were put in place.

He said, “We are very hopeful that maybe by next week, we should be able to commence evacuation. There is a large number of Nigerians still wanting to be evacuated, in addition to the UK, there are Nigerians in China, this is something we are not happy about.

“It is a real priority for us to bring all the evacuees back home but we know those in China are facing very essential challenges and as soon this mechanism is put in place, I’d like to assure them that we’ll do everything possible to prioritise their return.

“In regards to compensation to Nigerians who were caught up in the crisis in Guangzhou, China due to the discrimination on the basis of nationality and race, I spoke to the Consular General in Guangzhou who was in direct contact with the Nigerians there to provide details of any loss they may have suffered. We will now engage on that basis, with the Chinese Government.

“When I summoned the Chinese Ambassador, Mr Zhou Pingjian, he also made these commitments, that they will be very interested to receive the details of any complaints or loss, and I must say to date that nothing has come in formally from our Consulate in Guangzhou.”

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