One hundred and seventy Nigerians have returned from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Friday. It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on board the Fly Dubai airlines.
According to the agency, the returnees who arrived on Friday night came on board one of three free flights offered by the UAE government.
The UAE government offered the gesture to Nigerians whose documentation expired since March 1 and were given till August 17 to leave the country.
All evacuees tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are now on a mandatory 14-day self-isolation as part of the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force.
This development comes three days after 292 more Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE.
On Thursday, NIDCOM said 175 Nigerians returned from Uganda. As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.
During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.
“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.
Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home. Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.
Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.