By Balogun Damilola
An Emirates airplane repatriating 265 Nigerians from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday made a return after a passenger, Mrs Kafayat Amusan, went into labour.
She was delivered of a baby boy onboard, 30 minutes after the plane departed Dubai for Lagos with passengers, who were among the 4,000 Nigerians being evacuated from foreign countries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Amusan was admitted to a hospital in Dubai, while the other 264 passengers were moved to another airplane, which was expected to arrive Lagos 7pm on Wednesday.
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement, congratulated Amusan for another addition to her family and prayed for her safe return to the country.
Dabiri-Erewa said the new mother would return to Nigeria after obtaining a birth certificate and other necessary travel documents for her baby.
She stated, “A Nigerian lady, Mrs Kafayat Amusan, one of the stranded Nigerian travelers returning from Dubai, has been delivered of a baby boy onboard Emirates airline departing to Lagos on Wednesday.
“She put to bed onboard the plane, 30 minutes after departure, which resulted in the plane returning back to Dubai after take-off. She is currently on admission at a hospital in Dubai.”
“The Nigerian Ambassador in Dubai, Ambassador Rimi and staff of the embassy are in touch with the mother and child, who are in good condition,” a statement by NiDCOM spokesman, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said.
Speaking on the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in other countries, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated that payment for hotel accommodations for the returning citizens was still a challenge.
The minister, who spoke during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said, “One of the challenges is that the hotels want to be paid upfront; but it is not always that easy to manage all that. We are pushing hard and again, the governor of Lagos is helping in the process of keeping them….”
Onyeama disclosed that a British Airways flight had been arranged to bring back Nigerians on Friday, adding that payment for the charter flight was also an issue.
On the stranded Nigerians in China, Onyeama stated that they would have to obtain fresh tickets for the proposed evacuation flight, noting that they could not use commercial tickets on a charter flight.