No less than 260 European citizens have been evacuated from Nigeria through Air France.
About 118 European citizens from other West African countries reportedly joined them, making a total of 378 European Citizens that were evacuated through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
According to reports, the flight had come in from Cotonou, Benin Republic for the operation after it received a special letter of approval from the Ministry of Aviation.
The letter of approval, Punch reports shows that there would be similar repatriation flights dated April 2 and April 9, 2020.
Air France explained that the European citizens from the West Coast were being evacuated because of the projection that COVID-19 spread in Africa might spike in the coming days.
It stated, “Due to COVID-19, Air France is doing all it can to ensure French and European nationals currently abroad can return home.
“Air France teams all over the world are fully mobilised and are doing all they can to assist French and European nationals at this difficult time. Air France is working together with the French and international authorities to adapt its flight schedule in real-time in line with the evolving situation and the new restrictions imposed on airlines.”
Recall that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had issued a circular last week, saying that all international airports should remain closed to international flights till further notice.
However, the General Manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye explained that the flight had gone through because it was approved by the Minister. According to him, the flight was captured under essential operations and as such, it obtained special clearance.
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Adurogboye’s words: “They obtained special clearance for the flight. During this period, every flight that comes will be under special clearance.
“We are in a period of emergency and in section 36 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act, the minister has power to approve or clear flights in emergency. the NCAA will then process the clearance after the approval.”