UK Evacuates More Citizens from Nigeria

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Chinedu Eze

The United Kingdom yesterday evacuated the third batch of its citizens from Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.

UK deployed Boeing B747 British Airways flight, BAW9116 with registration number G-CIVO, which airlifted a total of 213 Britons, including 26 crew members from Lagos, as part of the country’s repatriation efforts following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

The plane landed at 2.22 p.m local time and departed at 3.59 p.m local time.
The evacuation was the third by the UK government in two days.

According to the UK Mission in Nigeria, the fourth repatriation would take place on Wednesday.
On Saturday, a BA Boeing 747 had airlifted 301 Britons from MMIA while 242 were moved from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on the same day.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mrs. Catriona Laing had stated that to be eligible for all flights, primary residence has to be in the UK.

She added that the UK prioritised helping the most vulnerable and those who have an underlying medical condition placing them at greater risk of serious illness if they contact COVID-19.

The UK mission also said the nationals would pay under £500 for their seats, adding that the federal government had assured London that people who had exceeded their authorised visa stays as a result of travel restrictions linked to COVID-19 would not be penalised as over-stayers when they depart.

Meanwhile, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called for a clear plan by the federal government to help domestic airlines recover from COVID-19 lockdown impact.

AON in a statement signed by its chairman, Captain Nogie Meggison, and made available to THISDAY said as a result of the COVID-19, Nigeria’s aviation sector had recorded an exposure of about 251,000 direct job losses, as confirmed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

“The lockdown is a double blow for the Nigerian economy due to the drop in the price of oil, which is the mainstay of the country to below $15, and the negative impact of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order that has virtually suspended all economic activities.

“From the foregoing therefore, it is clear that the Nigerian economy and indeed the aviation industry requires urgent government articulation of plans if the jobs of our youths must be preserved post COVID-19,” AON said.