A Nigerian family of five alongside four others has been denied evacuation flight to return to Nigeria via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos after they failed to show COVID-19 negative test result.
While 322 evacuees made the fully booked Ethiopian Airlines’ flight at the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, US on Friday night to arrive Lagos Saturday at 2:30pm, nine others are left behind.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known, Saturday, on his verified Twitter handle, @geoffreyonyeama.
He stated, “Evacuation Update: 322 Nigerians are on board @flyethopia ET 509 which departed Newark, NJ, USA, for Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.”
Meanwhile, according to the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr. Benaoyagha Okoyen, the family of five failed to present a negative coronavirus test result, hence, the travel denial.
Under the Revised Quarantine Protocol of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the negative test result is one of the requirements every evacuee must present to be able to return to Nigeria.
Okoyen noted, “Although the other four presented their results, they had to be dropped because they were on a family ticket with one of the defaulters.”
The consul general stressed that one of the unidentified defaulters did not take the test at all in spite of being informed well ahead of time.
After the successful repatriation of 160 stranded Nigerians from the U.S. on May 10 this year, the Federal Government has evacuated 487 Nigerians.
Continuing, Okoyen noted that the next flight would come in on July 17 as about 700 stranded citizens already registered with the Nigerian missions in the U.S. for evacuation.
“The nine persons that missed Friday’s flight would be placed on the waiting list for subsequent ones,” he added.
He appealed to intending evacuees to abide by the rules to avoid a repeat of Friday’s incident.
“We had to turn them back because this is a regulation, and I am using this opportunity to advise those in subsequent flights to obey the rules,” he said.
The consul general commended the evacuees for their orderly conduct, while also thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity.Follow us on social media