Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, says about 4,000 Nigerians abroad are willing to come home as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily press briefing on Monday in Abuja.
He said if the Federal Government had its way and there were enough bed spaces at the isolation centres all Nigerians abroad willing to come home would be brought back.
The minister stated that government was in the process of repatriating Nigerians abroad who were willing to return and Emirates Airline had indicated interest to bring them back to Nigeria.
He added that the airline would operate on May 6, to bring Nigerians abroad back to the country and the returnees would be the first batch to be brought from abroad.
According to him, “we have secured 300 beds in Lagos and 1,000 in Abuja, the Governor of Lagos has been outstanding in his support, he has done a great job and his leadership quality is exemplary”.
Onyeama said that the British Airways would be coming to Lagos on Friday and since it would be coming empty, the government had negotiated with the British government that Nigerians in United Kingdom should be allowed to join the Airways.
“Ideally we would have loved if the Airways come to Abuja, but we have to make do with what we have, we have to understand the challenges our people are facing,” he said.
Onyeama said that it had also done a deal with the United States of America if there was any flight available that would be coming to Nigeria.
“On Monday we did a deal with Ethiopian Airline to bring back our people. Air Peace is coming from London on Saturday and we are doing a deal if they can bring our people back to Nigeria,” he said.
He also said that a large number of Nigerians currently in China are willing to come back home, adding that the government is trying to do a deal how they could be brought back to the country.
He added that Nigerians in India too would be brought back, adding that the government will do everything possible to bring Nigerians back home.