France, Germany Evacuate 637 Citizens from Nigeria, Other W’African Countries

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Chinedu Eze

Germany and France thursday evacuated about 637 European citizens from Nigeria and other parts of West Africa due to the worsening situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the sub-region.

Air France with Flight Number: AF 0986 touched down at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at 11.04 a.m local time, from Cotonou with 142 passengers and picked 257 passengers from Nigeria, making it a total of 399 passengers.

It took off to Paris at about 3.00 p.m local time.

THISDAY also gathered that Lufthansa Flight 0575 arrived from Munich, Germany at 12.30 p.m local time but was delayed due to technical hitches and eventually took off by 3.45 p.m back to Munich with 238 passengers.

The two airlifts, it was learnt, were described as essential flights because they were authorised as emergency evacuation by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

Since the federal government closed Nigeria’s airspace for scheduled international flights in order to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in the midnight of March 23, some countries have evacuated their citizens from Nigeria.

Last week, Air France evacuated 260 Europeans from Nigeria and last Sunday Air Peace evacuated over 270 Israelis from Nigeria to Tel-Aviv.
The Air France evacuation was a follow-up to the first batch of airlift backed by the initial approvals received from the federal government, THISDAY learnt.

The evacuees said they feared a possible spike of the virus’ cases in Nigeria, noting that they had advanced medical system and personnel that would enable them to treat their citizens in case they were infected.