The Emirates Airlines aircraft evacuating Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates has finally arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Regional Manager, South West, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Victoria Shin-Abah said the aircraft arrived at 7.30 pm.
The 260 evacuees are on their way to the isolation centre prepared by the Lagos State Government and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
After alighting from the aircraft, there were profiled by security, health and border control officials at the Lagos Airport.
The plane had earlier made a U-turn after a pregnant woman on board went into labour.
The Chairman of the Nigerian in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa confirmed this to Channels TV.
This was why the plane which was scheduled to arrive at 3 pm eventually arrived at 7:30 pm.
Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama also confirmed the U-turn during his speech at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“One of the passengers, a lady, had a baby on the flight, or went into labour,” Onyeama said. “So the plane had to turn back. And I am happy to say mother and child are doing well in the hospital.
After weeks of delay, the first batch of Nigerians who are stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic is now in Lagos.
The Emirates flight is expected to be the first of at least two other flights scheduled to evacuate Nigerians within the next few days.
According to the foreign ministry, discussions are ongoing with British Airways to airlift 300 Nigerians from London on Friday; arrangements are also being made with Ethiopian airlines for a flight from New York to Abuja next Monday.
Over 4,000 Nigerians are waiting to be evacuated across the world back home, foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama said on Monday.
The returning Nigerians are expected to be quarantined for 14 days in select hotels on their arrival, the foreign ministry had said on Tuesday.
The quarantine is required to ensure the coronavirus-status of every returnee is ascertained.
The foreign ministry said it has made arrangements for hotel accommodations in Lagos and Abuja, which will be used to quarantine the incoming citizens.
The hotels have been inspected by the “Port Health Services, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IPC,” the ministry said.
Other countries have been in the news for evacuating their nationals from foreign soil back home.
The United States has evacuated at least 1,000 Americans from Nigeria since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic.
Nigeria’s efforts to evacuate citizens from abroad has been hampered by several obstacles, including the ability to secure quarantine facilities for the returnees on their arrival, according to Minister Onyeama.