Evacuation of Stranded Nigerians Abroad-The USA Experience

On February 27, 2020, Nigeria had its first confirmed case of Coronavirus. An Italian citizen tested positive for the virus in Lagos. A Nigerian citizen who had contact with the Italian became the second positive case reported in Ogun state. President Muhammadu Buhari had directed relevant ministries and agencies to intensify efforts towards protecting Nigerians from the pandemic. The Federal and State governments began to work assiduously to prevent the spread of the virus across the country.

Many nations had also closed their airspace to local and international flights. However, they made provisions to evacuate their stranded citizens in other countries back home. Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concerns about the plight of Nigerians stranded abroad. They wrote to the embassies in collaboration with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to get information across to Nigerians willing to return home to indicate their interest and readiness to bear the cost implication. The Consulates and Embassy (WDC) in the United States of America evacuated 2,322 Nigerians back home on nine flights. How did they go about it? What were the challenges and how did they surmount them? Find the answers in the short documentary of the exercise.