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Evacuated Nigerians from UK face untold suffering on arrival

 

253 stranded Nigerians brought back from the United Kingdom, were yesterday subjected to untold sufferings on arrival at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

A British Airways’ Boeing 747 plane  (flight BA9155) with registration  no G-CIVO that brought them back arrived the Lagos airport by 1:45pm.

Their hope of being immediately airlifted to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory where they would be isolated was greeted by depressing neglect as they were abandoned at the airport all day.

One of the disappointed evacuees said: “We were not taken to Abuja until 7:45pm.  We didn’t leave Abuja airport until 10:44pm. We got to our hotel at 1am. Room allocation and collection of luggage took place till 4:02am. Some of my luggage are still at Abuja Airport.”

Nigerian government apologises for lapses

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has apologised for the lapses in handling the airlifting and accommodation of the evacuees.

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He said: “We apologize profusely to those passengers who had to spend more time in Lagos than was planned and in conditions that were not comfortable.We had wanted the UK flight to come directly to Abuja, where passengers will be quarantined, but it wasn’t possible. It had to land in Lagos, and we’ve had to make arrangements to fly passengers from Lagos to Abuja with flight organised by the UK Government to evacuate British nationals from Lagos, and coming to Abuja would have exceeded the hours for the pilot.

“This required a lot of coordination at many different levels and unfortunately, we didn’t get it right and the result is that passengers had to wait for unreasonably long hours at the airport in Lagos before connecting to Abuja.Henceforth, all the arrangements are for flights coming in to only go to the final destination, so we will not have to grapple with complicated situations like this.

READ  Stranded Nigerians celebrate as government lifts suspension on evacuation

In regards to Nigerians in France seeking to fly to Cotonou, and enter Nigeria by land, he said:“We’ve successfully brought in about 100 Nigerians from Benin and Togo, so we already have tried and tested methodology and procedures for bringing Nigerians across the border.

“We have given instructions to ALL our Missions around the world on the procedure to follow regarding Nigerians seeking evacuation. The first thing for them to do is collate the numbers of interested persons, and then send us those numbers.”

 

 

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Hundreds of thousands of people leave Britain due to pandemic

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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