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Ukraine-Russia crisis: 2,090 Nigerians expected as evacuation begins today

Ukraine-Russia crisis: 2,090 Nigerians expected as evacuation begins today

At least 2,090 Nigerians are expected to arrive in Nigeria as the federal government commenced the evacuation of the first batch of its citizens fleeing Ukraine to neighbouring countries today, following the conflict between the country and Russia.

Gabriel Aduda, the permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs, said in a statement on Wednesday that the stranded Nigerians would be evacuated from Romania, Poland and Hungary via Max Air and Air Peace flights.

He said, “Furtherance to our efforts to evacuate Nigerians from neighbouring countries surrounding Ukraine, we can confirm that chattered flights will depart on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, to pick up Nigerian evacuees home.

“So far, we have the following records of evacuees received by the Nigerian embassies at Hungary: 650 persons, Poland: 350 persons, Romania: 940 persons and Slovakia: 150 persons.

“The capacity and routes of the airlines are as follows: Max Air to Romania 560 persons, Air Peace to Poland 365 persons and Air Peace to Hungary 360 persons.

“The first batch of evacuees is expected to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Once again, we assure Nigerians that we are working round the clock to see that our citizens are brought back home safely.

Read also: Here are things Nigeria may be losing from Russia, Ukraine conflict

Meanwhile, the federal government has granted Nigerians returning from Ukraine waiver from the 48 hours pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test requirements.

This was disclosed in a letter by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) signed by Musa Nuhu, its director general, and addressed to all airlines operating international flights to Nigeria.

He said, “In view of the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine, the Presidential Steering Committee has directed that airlines board passengers travelling to Nigeria with proof of having left Ukraine under the following conditions:

“Waiver from the 48 hours pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test requirements and waiver from the requirement to pre-departure filling of the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP), payment for repeat test in Nigeria and generation of permit to fly/QR code.”

According to the letter, passengers will, however, be required to fill the NITP upon their arrival in Nigeria with the assistance of the Port Health Services.

“Upon arriving in Nigeria, passengers will be directed by the Port Health Services to designated government laboratories for COVID-19 tests. The COVID-19 PCR tests which must be done within 24 hours of arrival will be at no cost to the passengers,” it added.