By Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
One hundred and sixty stranded Nigerians were brought back from the United States (USA) early yesterday. They were flown to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
They are the third batch of Nigerians to be evacuated after the suspension of commercial flights after the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
More than 4000 Nigerians are imprisoned worldwide due to the blockade caused by the pandemic, which has already infected more than four million and killed 280,000 people worldwide.
At 7 pm yesterday, Nigeria has 4,151 confirmed cases and 128 deaths.
The flight carrying the third first batch of imprisoned Nigerians arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 11:05 am on Sunday.
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They arrived on board a Boeing 787 aircraft from Ethiopian Airlines under the Federal Government's special flight arrangements for nationals arrested abroad.
Among them, 92 men, 60 women and eight babies.
Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said: "ET flight 8509, carrying 160 US Nigerian refugees, arrived safely at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja."
According to standard protocols, they will be tested on the 13th day of their incarceration to determine their COVID-19 status before they can meet with their family members.
According to a previous statement issued by the Nigerian Consulate in the USA, during the 14 days of isolation, “all returnees will be tested for COVID-19 and will also be re-tested at the end of the quarantine period.
“Only those with negative results will be able to recover their passports from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), while positive cases will be transferred to designated isolation centers for treatment.
"Please note that returnees will be responsible for planning their own travel from Abuja to their respective destinations in Nigeria after the mandatory quarantine period."