Geoffrey Onyeama.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday began the evacuation of distressed Nigerians that suffered from the recent xenophobic attacks from South Africa.

In a statement signed by Minister for Consular and Immigration at the Nigerian Consular in Johannesburg South Africa, Anthony Ogbe, said that the exercise which was initially scheduled for Friday, September 6 was shifted to Saturday, September 7.

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Ogbe emphasised that the exercise is free and there will be no payment for documents for those without passports.

He noted that Interested Nigerians are encouraged to register by Friday 6th September and be prepared to travel by Saturday after the providing necessary information.

Ogbe added that this gesture is should be viewed in light of the security challenges which our nationals face in the country and the Federal Government’s commitment to the well-being wherever they may be.

Concise News had reported that the foreign ministry had said that Air Peace Airlines has offered free flights to Nigerians willing to return from South Africa from Friday, September 6.

According to a statement on Wednesday and signed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, the development follows the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African migrants.

Nwonye said Air Peace volunteered to send an aircraft from Friday to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria “free of charge.”

However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, said on Wednesday that Nigeria would not ‘cave in’ on its two demands from South Africa, which are compensation for Nigerians whose properties were destroyed and provision of adequate security for Nigerians in South Africa.

The foreign affairs ministry’s statement on Wednesday suggested the government was encouraging Nigerians in South Africa to return.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that following the recent unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the Proprietor of Air Peace Airlines Chief Allen Onyema, has volunteered to send an aircraft from Friday 6th September 2019 to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge.

“The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture. Interested Nigerians are therefore advised to liaise with the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg for further necessary arrangement,” Nwonye wrote.