Germany and France Thursday evacuated about 637 European citizens from Nigeria and other parts of West Africa due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Air France Flight AF 0986, which landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, from Cotonou, Benin with 142 passengers picked up 257 passengers from Nigeria, making a total of 399 passengers. It took off from Lagos directly to Paris.
Lufthansa Flight 0575 arrived from Munich, Germany at 12: 30 pm local time but was delayed due to technical hitches and eventually took off by 3:45 pm back to Munich with 238 passengers. The two airlifts were described as essential flights because they were authorized as emergency evacuation by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
Since the federal government closed Nigeria’s airspace for scheduled international flights in order to arrest the spread of Coronavirus in the midnight of March 23, 2020, some countries have engaged in the evacuation of their citizens from Nigeria.
Last week Air France evacuated 260 Europeans from Nigeria and last Sunday Air Peace evacuated over 270 Israelis from Nigeria to Tel-Aviv.
The Air France evacuation was a follow up to the first batch of airlift backed by the initial approvals received from the federal government, Aviation ministry sources told Huhuonline.com.
The evacuees said they fear a possible spike of Coronavirus cases in Nigeria, noting that they have advanced medical system and personnel, which would enable them treat their citizens in case they get infected by the virus.