Covid-19: 2,500 foreigners flown out of Nigeria

Covid-19: 2,500 foreigners flown out of Nigeria

- The FG has been accused of allowing flights from coronavirus hot spots into Nigeria

- According to reports, through this, 2,500 foreigners have been flown out of Nigeria

- Report claims the flights are also bringing crew and passengers from COVID-19 endemic countries

The frequency of international flight services in and out of Lagos and Abuja airports may lead to an increase in the number of new coronavirus infections, stakeholders have warned.

The flights which are reportedly evacuating foreign nationals from Nigeria are also bringing crew and passengers from COVID-19 endemic countries.

Regulators have, however, dismissed the claim as untrue.

According to The Guardian, no fewer than 2500 foreign nationals had been evacuated through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja by the governments of United States, Canada, France and United Kingdom, among others, in two weeks.

Speaking on the development, the newspaper reports that a medical practitioner and aviation enthusiast, Michael Ajaguna, said it is worrisome.

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“I have been observing the movements of foreign airplanes into Lagos lately and I am uncomfortable. The government cannot tell the whole of Lagos and Abuja residents to stay at home, and still be welcoming foreigners, some of whom are coming from where coronavirus is biting very hard.

“Coronavirus is a foreign disease and it makes no sense to be allowing flights from overseas and expect to eradicate the problem soon. If our people at the airport were that effective at screening for possible threats, we will not be where we are today. I understand that other countries are evacuating their people, but it should not be endless. The government should be decisive on tackling this problem,” Ajaguna said.

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Meanwhile, had reported that the minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said visitors and migrants affected by the international travel restriction and closure of land borders are to be issued with relevant extensions at no cost.

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According to Aregbeshola, the vide letter ref. MI/PM/16012/S.266/V.II dated 6th April 2020, was approved in respect of visitors and migrants affected by the Federal Government’s order.

He said that the order had restricted international travels through international airports and subsequent closure of land borders.

“In the light of the above, all visitors and migrants holding valid visitors pass and resident permit with confirmed return tickets scheduled to travel out within the period of the international travel restriction are to be issued with relevant extensions at NO COST.

“This is to enable the beneficiaries reschedule their flights and travel within one week whenever the embargo is suspended or lifted by the federal government.

“However, migrants and visitors whose permits or visitors pass expired before the restriction order, must pay for overstay relevant for the period and the penalty it attracts.

“Furthermore, anyone that overstays beyond the waiver period whenever the restriction is suspended or lifted by the Federal government is to promptly comply by paying for overstay."

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