NIGERIA has received the first batch of its citizens evacuated from South Africa in response to the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals when 84 Nigerians landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos this afternoon.
Over recent weeks, angry mobs of South African youths frustrated with their economic plight have vented their fury on African migrants in the country, burning down businesses and attacking foreign nationals. Their actions have led to widespread condemnation, with African leaders reminding South Africans who fought for their freedom from apartheid.
In response, Nigerian airline Air Peace, despatched a plane to evacuate those who want to return home and so far, 640 Nigerians have indicated they want to leave South Africa. Today, the first batch of the evacuees landed in Lagos in company of foreign affairs ministry officials.
According to the officials, 313 Nigerians were confirmed as those to form the first batch of evacuees but only 84 of them would arrive today because they were the ones cleared to embark on the flight to Nigeria. According to the ministry, a total of 640 Nigerians have indicated the desire to return from South Africa and have registered to do so.
One ministry official added that the second batch of evacuees would depart from Johannesburg for Nigeria on Friday. Allen Onyeama, the proprietor of Air Peace, send an aircraft to evacuate Nigerians willing to return free of charge but the process which was scheduled to commence on September 6 was delayed as most of those affected did not have valid passports or travel documents to complete immigration formalities.
“There are complaints of system failure and out of the 313 confirmed for first batch of evacuation today, only 84 are cleared so far. The more the aircraft waits for the passengers, the higher the amount it will pay for parking,” the ministry official added.