By Martins Ifijeh
Following the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Government has evacuated 997 Americans from Nigeria.
The Americans were evacuated through three US Consulate-organised chartered flights operated by Delta Air Lines and Ethiopian Airlines with 850 Americans airlifted from Lagos, while 147 were airlifted from Abuja between April 4 and April 8.
Announcing this Thursday, the United States Consul General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, said in times of emergency, the US Department of State had no greater priority than the safety and security of its citizens overseas.
She said: “This has been three weeks in the making. We had more than 50 people working on this on a daily basis to make sure that we can find the Americans, get the planes, secure flight clearances for the planes to land here and also ensure safe passage of the Americans traveling to the airport since the city is on lockdown. It was an enormous effort and I am incredibly proud of my team. We appreciate all the help from our Nigerian partners. We couldn’t have done this without them.
“The US Mission remains committed to working closely with the Nigeria and the various health authorities to keep everyone healthy and safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
She said the US government had pledged more than $7 million in health and humanitarian funding to Nigeria in response to the pandemic, adding that the funds will go toward risk communication, water and sanitation activities, infection prevention, and coordination.
“This assistance joins more than $5.2 billion in health assistance and more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years.
“The US is providing nearly $274 million to help dozens of countries to combat the COVID-19, furthering America’s commitment to humanitarian assistance and global health,” she added.