Over 700 Nigerians in the United States of America (USA) are seeking a return to Nigeria as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in the American country.
As of May 4, over 1 million persons have been infected with COVID-19 in the USA, with over 60,000 deaths.
Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case in late February 2020. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government on March 18 imposed restrictions on travels from 13 countries with high burdens.
The countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Germany, Italy, the USA, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, France, Japan, Australia, and Sweden.
Consequently, many Nigerians, who were on short-term visits to the affected countries, became stranded.
According to a statement from the Consulate-General of Nigerian in New York, the evacuation of such Nigerians is to begin on May 10.
It said that the first batch of 270 evacuees would be transported to Abuja through an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 509.
The plane is expected to depart the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at 9.15 p.m. and fly directly to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
As earlier announced by the Federal Government, the flight is at the expense of the evacuees, who will all fly economy class, according to the notice.
“The projected cost for the one-way economy ticket is between 1,300 dollars (N488,800) and 1,700 dollars (N639,200) per adult.
“Please note that over 700 Nigerian nationals have registered with our missions in the USA to be evacuated.
“However, only 270 passengers shall be accommodated in this batch of evacuation.
“Missions will, therefore, attend to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis and shall prioritize the list of evacuees according to their immigration status.
“This includes the need to consider those stranded with proof of short-stay visas, the elderly, families with children and returning students,” it said.