PLANS have been concluded to evacuate a further 319 Nigerians from South Africa tomorrow to add to the 187 brought home last Wednesday in response to the growing xenophobic attacks against them.
Last week’s 187 returnees were the first batch of the 640 Nigerians, who registered for evacuation following the xenophobic attacks. Their return, facilitated by local airline Air Peace, faced some hitches, however, as the flight was delayed by South African officials, who insisted that some of the evacuated Nigerians did not have travel documents.
This time around, however, the chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said that the necessary travel documents would be given to the intending returnees and other immigration issues addressed to ensure a smooth evacuation process. She added that this is to ensure that the 319 are returned without any hitch this time around.
Hon Dabiri-Erewa said: “We have 319 registered for the next flight but the list is still being updated. For the flight, we are looking at Tuesday or Wednesday so that proper documentation would be done, as we don’t want a situation where the plane will return half-empty with few passengers.”
Meanwhile President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has sent three officials to President Muhammadu Buhari and the heads of six other African countries to deliver messages of solidarity to them over the xenophobic attacks in his country. His team comprises of Jeff Radebe, Ambassador Kingsley Mmabolo and Dr Khulu Mbatha, would will also visit Niger Republic, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
Khusela Diko, President Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, said: “The special envoys will deliver a message from President Ramaphosa regarding the incidents of violence that recently erupted in some parts South Africa, which have manifested in attacks on foreign nationals and destruction of property. The special envoys are tasked with reassuring fellow African countries that South Africa is committed to the ideals of pan-African unity and solidarity and they will also reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to the rule of law.”
Last week, President Ramaphosa was booed in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, when he was giving a speech at the funeral of the former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe. At the funeral, he apologised for the attacks in his country, insisting that South Africans were not xenophobic and that the country was making efforts to deal with the causes of the violence.