Presidential Taskforce on Press briefing on Friday 8 May 2020 by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama

Presidential Taskforce on Press briefing on Friday 8 May 2020 by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama:

“We apologize profusely to those passengers who had to spend more time in Lagos than was planned and in conditions that were not comfortable. We had wanted the UK flight to come directly to Abuja, where passengers will be quarantined, but it wasn’t possible. It had to land in Lagos, and we’ve had to make arrangements to fly passengers from Lagos to Abuja with Air Peace”.

“The British Airways flight was organised by the UK Government to evacuate British nationals from Lagos, and coming to Abuja would have exceeded the hours for the pilot”.

“This required a lot of coordination at many different levels and unfortunately, we didn’t get it right and the result is that passengers had to wait for unreasonably long hours at the airport in Lagos before connecting to Abuja. Henceforth, all the arrangements are for flights coming in to only go to the final destination, so we will not have to grapple with complicated situations like this”.

In regards to Nigerians in France seeking to fly to Cotonou, and enter Nigeria by land:

“We’ve successfully brought in about 100 Nigerians from Benin and Togo, so we already have tried and tested methodology and procedures for bringing Nigerians across the border”.

Furthermore:
“We have given instructions to ALL our Missions around the world on the procedure to follow regarding Nigerians seeking evacuation. The first thing for them to do is collate the numbers of interested persons, and then send us those numbers. The Missions will then engage with different airlines, to negotiate terms of flights, giving priority to Nigerian airlines. We will then make the necessary arrangements regarding landing permissions and quarantine”.