The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), yesterday, disclosed that a total of 6,317 Nigerians have so far been evacuated from 20 countries since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic early this year.
The evacuation interventions came just as the financial remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora, which currently stands at $25.5 billion, is projected to hit $34.8 billion by 2023.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who made these known at a virtual media briefing to herald the 2020 National Diaspora Day celebrations, said the evacuees were stranded in different parts of the world due to travel restrictions imposed by countries in response to the global pandemic.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the evacuees were rescued and flown back to Nigeria in batches.
She underlined the essence of taking care of Nigerians living abroad, saying that they have played important roles in the social and economic development of the country.
According to her, Nigerians in the diaspora have contributed immensely to the economy of Nigeria through financial remittances to their families and investments in various sectors.
A peep at the evacuation chart showed that Dubai, United Arab Emirates had the largest number of evacuees as 1,405 persons were brought back to Nigeria in three batches.
This was followed by 831 persons from the United Kingdom and 806 persons from the United States. The list also included Egypt (474), Sudan (365), South Africa (324), Turkey (324), China (268), Malaysia and Thailand (247) and Ghana (205) among others.
Dabiri-Erewa said that as COVID-19 was still on rampage, NIDCOM, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerian Missions around the world were still evacuating stranded Nigerians across the world.
On the National Diaspora Day Celebrations, she said that in previous years, it was usually observed with pomp and glamour, but will be marked solemnly this year due to the health challenge threatening the global community.
She said that the 2019 edition, which was the second in the series since the birth of NIDCOM, had over 400 participants in attendance, from different walks of life.