Paulinus Aidoghie and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government is in the process of identifying airlines that will evacuate Nigerians abroad who have signified interest to return to the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who made the revelation also said government is spending a lot of resources to prepare centres for the affected Nigerians since they will be isolated upon arrival in the country.
He said almost a hundred Nigerians have been evacuated from Cote d’Ivoire and Togo so far.
“As I mentioned the other day, our evacuation has taken a little bit longer to get going. And when I say evacuation, I mean evacuation by plane because we have evacuated people from Cote d’Ivoire and from Togo, almost a hundred in total.
“But by plane is that we have to put in place first of all, isolation centres because when they come into the country, they have to be isolated. So, we have been spending a lot of resources putting in place those centres.
“Addressing the challenges we have, the domestic challenges of all those who had come before and who we have to accommodate, I am putting all that in place.
“Now, the stage we are is identifying airlines that we will use to bring this people back. We are working with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for this because that is the government agency responsible for emergencies and the Director-General of NEMA has already asked the various airlines interested in this evacuation to make their bids and then, we will start rolling it out,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama, who also maintained that the passengers will have to pay for the air lifting, however, said the government was making efforts to get the very best and lowest cost for seats.
“So, hopefully, very soon, we will start the process of air lifting,” he said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 650 households of different faith has benefitted from relief packages distributed by the Ladela Schools’ Parents Teachers Association (PTA) in different parts of Abuja.
The relief items who comprises of food items and non food items was meant to cushion the effect of total lockdown declared by the Federal Government as part of measures to contain community transmission of dreaded coronavirus in Nigeria.
Executive Director of the schools, Mrs Angela Ajala, said that, with the strategic plan put in place by the PTA, they were able to reach out to 250 children in a Catholic relief home, 300 IDPs in leper colony in Karamajiji and 100 families with relief materials such as rice, bread, beans, water and cash transfer of N5,000 to 100 families.
Ajala explained that they collectively formulate a comprehensive Ladela school family support response strategy and task the PTA executive members to develop an accompanying implementation plan for the benefit of the targeted families.
She said special considerations was given to special group of people that face difficulties accessing the national health care systems such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and migrants.
She explained further: “We established Ladela school family support emergency fund for the purpose of responding to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic in FCT.”