A Nigerian woman on Wednesday gave birth to a baby mid-air on the repatriation flight from the United Arab Emirates.
Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, confirmed this to newsmen via a text message.
She did not reveal the gender of the child but said mother and baby were doing well.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had said 265 Nigerians would arrive in Lagos from Dubai on Wednesday as part of efforts to bring Nigerians willing to come back to the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of evacuating Nigerians from abroad and in accordance with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control guidelines, the evacuees will undergo a mandatory 14-day supervised quarantine in a monitored environment.
“In this regard, Emirates Airlines is scheduled to evacuate the first batch of 265 Nigerians from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and they will arrive at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, 6th May 2020 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
“Arrangements for hotel accommodation in Lagos and Abuja have been made for the evacuation process,” Onyeama had said in a statement through the ministry’s spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye
But a source close to the airline informed newsmen on Wednesday that the evacuation flight left Dubai for Lagos at 10 am and all the passengers were tested and found to be COVID-19-free.
According to the source, a woman, however, gave birth an hour into the about eight hours trip and the pilots had to return the plane to Dubai to disembark the mother and the new born.
Efforts to reach the minister proved abortive but the NIDCOM chair, who did not pick her call but responded to a text message sent to her line by newsmen said, “Yes, the plane had to return. Mother and child (are) fine.”
Newsmen sent her another text message to ascertain whether the plane would still be landing in Nigeria today but she was yet to reply as of the time of filing this report.