More Nigerians stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have continued to return home following the evacuation of 252 persons from the Arab country on Saturday.
Disclosing this in a tweet on its official handle, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) said the evacuees landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via an Emirates Airline flight.
“Out of this number,” NIDCOM said, “180 of them had their tickets paid for by the UAE govt, for those who claimed they couldn’t afford a return ticket.
“In total, 18 flights have so far evacuated 4,984 Nigerians from Dubai. Out of which the UAE government paid for 517 Nigerians on 3 Fly Dubai flights and 380 Nigerians on Emirates Airline.”
More evacuees – 174 – are expected to return to the country from the UAE on the 25th of August, 2020, according to the agency, with their flight paid for by the government of the Asian nation.
“This will bring the total number of Nigerians evacuated gratis by Dubai authorities to 1,071,” the statement added.
All evacuees, prior to their departure, NIDCOM said, had tested negative to COVID-19 but will be undergoing self-isolation in line with guidelines set by the Federal Government and other relevant health agencies.
The UAE is one of the countries where a good number of Nigerians have been repatriated since the outbreak of the pandemic halted international flights.
On August 12th, two hundred and ninety-two Nigerians returned from the country.
During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday, August 13th, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha had, however, said evacuation flights would end on the 25th of the month.
He noted that the decision was to enable international airline operators to prepare for the resumption of international flights which was halted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.