President of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, Professor (Ambassador) Muhammed Tijani-Bande, was among dignitaries that converged on the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, United States of America, to bid farewell to Nigerians being evacuated home.
The Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 8509 departed the US for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Saturday evening with the Consul General in New York, Hon. Ben Okoyen, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Samson Itegboje and other Nigerian dignitaries on hand to ensure smooth passage for the evacuees made up of 160 passengers including eight babies.
According to Hon. Ben Okoyen, who coordinated the evacuation on behalf of Nigerian Missions in the US, the departure of the Nigerians was smooth, including the pre-boarding medical checks conducted by a powerful team of Nigerian doctors and Nurses from the Association of Nigerian Physicians in America, ANPA, led by the President and the Vice President of the New Jersey chapters of the Association, Dr Nelson Aluya and Dr Iwuozo Obilo.
Hon. Okoyen said the medical checks were to ensure that all those boarding the aircraft were medically fit to travel.
While at the Airport, Hon. Okoyen passed on the farewell message of the Nigerian Ambassador to the USA, Justice Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, to the evacuees. The Consul General equally briefed the returnees on what to expect on arrival in Abuja and thanked them for their exceptional display of maturity during the exercise.
He confirmed that the arrangements leading to the airlift were well organized and without hitches, stressing that another evacuation would be organized if there was compelling need for such.
He said that for now, the Federal Government would concentrate on evacuation of Nigerians in some other countries like China and Canada where stranded nationals are yet to be evacuated from.
He expressed gratitude to the top Nigerians who came out to grace the departure of the flight and thumbed up the evacuees for their orderly conduct.