The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York has revealed that the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in the U.S. due to the novel coronavirus pandemic will begin on May 10.
This was disclosed this in a notice signed by the Consul-General, Benaoyagha Okoyen, on behalf of the Nigerian Missions in the United States on Sunday.
No fewer than 700 Nigerians have registered with the missions in the U.S. for evacuation, which will be done in batches, the notice stated.
According to the notice, the first batch of 270 evacuees would be transported to Nigeria’s capital, Abuja by an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 509.
It was further revealed that the plane, expected to depart the Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at 9.15 p.m., would fly directly to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The flight is at the expense of the evacuees, as contained in an earlier announcement by the Federal Government.
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 prioritise 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.
Speaking in New York, the Consul-General, Okoyen, said that the dates for subsequent batches would be announced in due course.
The Federal Government had on March 18 imposed travel restriction on 13 high-risk countries as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Germany, Italy, the U.S, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, France, Japan, Australia and Sweden.
Many Nigerians, who were on short-term visits to the affected countries, consequent to this development, became stranded.