The U.S. Mission in Nigeria has repatriated 997 Americans home to be reunited with their families and friends during this time of unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claire Pierangelo, the U.S. Consul General in Nigeria, said in a statement from the consulate on Thursday, April 9, 2020.
She said that, from April 6 to April 8, 2020, three U.S. Consulate-organised chartered flights operated by Delta Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines repatriated 850 American citizens from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos to the U.S.
She said that the figure included the 147 U.S. citizens who departed Abuja on April 4, 2020.
“These repatriation flights were made possible by the tremendous efforts of the U.S. Consulate team and great cooperation from its Nigerian partners.
“This includes the Ministry of Aviation, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Lagos State Government.
“The State Department’s effort to bring Americans home during the COVID-19 pandemic has required a remarkable diplomatic and logistical effort.
“As of April 8, 2020, the Department of State had coordinated the repatriation of 50,339 Americans from 94 countries since Jan. 29, 2020.
“In times of emergency, the United States’ Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. This has been three weeks in the making.
“We have more than 50 people working on this on a daily basis to make sure that we can find the Americans, get the planes, secure flight clearances for the planes to land here and also ensure safe passage of the Americans traveling to the airport since the city is on lockdown.
“It was an enormous effort and I am incredibly proud of my team. We appreciate all the help from our Nigerian partners. We couldn’t have done this without them,” Consul General Claire Pierangelo, said.
She noted that the U.S. Mission would remain committed to working closely with the Government of Nigeria and the various health authorities to keep everyone healthy and safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She advised that U.S. citizens remaining in Nigeria and seeking information on COVID-19 should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Programme at step.state.gov.
She also advised them to check the U.S. Mission Nigeria website and social media handles for messages and updates.
By Busayo Onijala