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Over 250 British nationals departed Nigeria for the United Kingdom on Friday on a special return chartered flight organised by both governments, an official said Friday evening.

The plane had earlier brought back 200 Nigerian nationals from the UK via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, the British High Commissioner for Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said this was the eighth repatriation flight organised for Britons wanting to return from Nigeria, since the closure of Nigeria airports on March 23 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so pleased we were able to help Nigerians get back to Nigeria whilst also helping more British nationals return home to the UK. We work around the clock to support British nationals who remain in the country.

“I want offer a huge thank you to the Nigerian government for their support and assistance in arranging these flights. The strong cooperation we have had from our Nigerian partners demonstrates the enduring bonds between our two countries,” she said.

She said the British High Commission had been working with the Nigerian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Aviation, others to arrange the flights.

She said the UK “will continue to work closely with the Nigerian government in the future, not just on flights for stranded travellers in both our countries, but on fighting COVID-19 and building a better future for Nigeria.”

Pandemic

Since the deadly coronavirus broke out across the globe, many countries have shut down their borders and airports.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Nigeria extends airport closure by four weeks

Most governments have also been engaged in a flurry of efforts to bring back their nationals stranded in other nations.

The first batch of repatriation involving Nigerian nationals took place on May 6 with an Emirates flight that returned 265 persons to Abuja.

The flight had to return to Dubai a few minutes after take off after a woman, who gave birth on board developed complications.

Nigeria’s foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, during the presidential task force briefing on May 7 said more repatriations were expected to be undertaken in the coming days.

Coronavirus factsheet

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