The highly elated Nigerians were flown into the country on board Air Peace airline.

Nigeria has successfully evacuated 268 of its citizens that were stranded in China back home.

They returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja at about 2.30 pm yesterday.

The highly elated Nigerians were flown into the country on board Air Peace airline.

It will be recalled that many Nigerians stranded in China allegedly suffered a lot of maltreatment from their hosts.

The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who revealed the arrival of the evacuees in Abuja via a tweet, said they were expected to proceed on the mandatory 14 days isolation and quarantine.

The latest arrival brings to 1,257 the number of Nigerians so far evacuated back home since the global lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are more than 4,000 Nigerians scattered across various countries awaiting evacuation following the global lockdown in March, 2020.

The new evacuation protocol did not affect the China returnees as the process has been ongoing prior to the latest development with many of them tested outside the stipulated period of between five to nine days to boarding flight.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had on Wednesday announced the suspension of the evacuation process of Nigerians stranded abroad, saying that subsequently, anyone who tested positive for the deadly COVID-19 virus would not be allowed to board a flight back to the country.

Under the new protocol that will take effect from the new week, the minister said there will be a pre-test for any would be evacuees between five to nine days of the evacuation process.


Besides, he said the Federal Government had jettisoned the monitored compulsory 14 days isolation protocol for self-isolation at home.

The new protocol, he had argued during the Wednesday daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, will allow the government to evacuate more Nigerians who are longing to come back home.

He said: ”There is going to be a change in that protocol, and that is going to affect the timing of any further evacuation we are going to undertake.

“Anybody that is going to be evacuated will first of all undergo a test from the countries they are leaving from, at least five days before travel and not later than nine days before.

“That will be a pre-condition for boarding the flights to Nigeria. And if they are positive, they will not be able to board the flight.

“On arrival in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote and his other partners will have in place these units where they will take samples from the passengers coming in and they will retain their passports.

“The passengers will then be able to go home and not into prescribed hotels to self-isolate.

“Results from those samples will then be ready within a day or two. Those who are positive will then be taken in for isolation.

“The whole issue of quarantining in hotels will no longer be necessary.

“This can also mean that more people can also come back more frequently, and it will be a lot easier than it has been up to now.

“What we have been asked to do is to cease or suspend all evacuations for now until this new structure is put in place.

“We are very hopeful that maybe by next week, we should be able to commence evacuation.”

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