The United States’ Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria has said that its citizens would pay for evacuation flights following the outbreak of the coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, there are 135 cases of the pandemic in Nigeria. The number is expected to increase in the coming days.
A mail sent to a US citizen in Nigeria made available to an online newspaper (Qed) stated that evacuation flights had been confirmed for the week and that travellers would bear the cost for the flight.
“The U.S. Consulate in Lagos has confirmed evacuation flights for this week. Flights will depart from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and fly directly to Washington-Dulles International Airport in Virginia (Washington, D.C.),” the mail read.
The mission said US citizens who have space on the flight would receive a confirmation letter sent to the e-mail provided in the evacuation request form.
“Please DO NOT come to the airport unless you have received a letter indicating that you have a seat on the flight. You will be turned away and not allowed to enter the airport,” the mail further read.
“Please note that this evacuation flight is a one-way flight at the expense of the traveler(s). No money is required upfront. All individuals who choose to return to the United States on a flight organized by the U.S. Department of State will be required to sign a promissory note to reimburse the government for the full cost of each seat on the flight. The anticipated cost of the flight is between $1,300 and $1,400 per person.
“Travelers will be responsible for arranging and funding their own travel from the Washington, D.C. area to their final destination, and for any return flight to Nigeria. The U.S. Department of State is unable to assist with identifying resources or providing funding for housing, food, or transportation in Nigeria or within the United States.”
It also said pets would not be allowed to accompany travellers as either cargo or in-cabin on the flight.
“Additional information will be sent out by e-mail regarding baggage restrictions with your specific flight details,” it said.
The mail further read: “The U.S. Embassy in Abuja is working to arrange a similar flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Once a flight has been confirmed, the Embassy will release flight information and instructions.
“Those who are interested in returning to the United States via Abuja should click here and enter their information. If you plan to travel on the Lagos flight, please do NOT submit your information to the Embassy in Abuja.”
A tweet by the mission on Tuesday advised American citizens to abide by health rules provided by the Nigerian government.
“The U.S. Mission to Nigeria plans to continue to operate and continue the important work of representing the American people here. We ask Americans who remain in Nigeria to join us in abiding by the rules the Nigerian Government has established to keep us all healthy and safe,” it said.