The United Kingdom’s Mission in Nigeria is to begin evacuating British nationals, who wish to leave the country over the COVID-19 pandemic from Saturday.
It said in a statement yesterday that the evacuation would continue till Monday, adding that more flights might follow if the already scheduled flight did not airlift all those intended to leave Nigeria.
In its travel advisory, the UK Mission said Britons would be evacuated from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
It added that to be eligible for all flights, the primary residence has to be in the UK and that it would prioritise helping the most vulnerable and those who have an underlying medical condition, which places them at greater risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19.
Intending evacuees are expected to pay for their seats.
The UK Mission noted that the federal government had assured it that people who exceeded their authorised visa expiry date as a result of travel restrictions linked to COVID-19 would not be penalised as over-stayers when they depart.
It stated: “There are currently no commercial options available to return to the UK from Nigeria. All airports in Nigeria are closed to all international commercial flights until 23 April. We know this concerning British people trying to leave Nigeria. The UK government has been working closely with airlines and has now secured agreement for charter flights to start from Nigeria to the UK, from both Abuja and Lagos.
“The Nigerian authorities have told us that people who exceed their authorised visa stays as a result of travel restrictions linked to COVID-19 will not be penalised as over-stayers when they depart.”
So far, over 2,000 foreign nationals from the US, Canada, Germany, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, South Africa, and France have been evacuated from Nigeria.
The Nigerian Mission in the UK has also received over 140 applications from Nigerians resident in Britain who are interested in being evacuated.