Xenophobia: How Buhari Govt Will Assist Nigerian Returnees From South Africa
An official welcomes some Nigerians evacuated from South Africa on their arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday (11/9/19). (image courtesy: Okoya Olatunde/BJO/NAN)

Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has assured that the federal government would assist Nigerian returnees from South Africa settle back in the country through its various social intervention programmes.

The former lawmaker gave this assurance ahead of the return of the first batch of 187 Nigerians from South Africa on Wednesday night after the renewed xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid country.

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“The bank of industry will also be here to offer some entrepreneurship programme and some support to start a small business and there would be some stipends for transportation to take you home and we will profile them and for those who want to get any training, they will decide what kind of training they want to do and the Bank of industry will be there to provide it,” Dabiri said before they arrived.

The B777 aircraft, with registration number 5N-BWI, landed at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at 9.37 p.m. after departing Thambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

They were received by the Chairman of Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema, and representatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigeria Immigration Service and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Air Peace chairman, Allen Onyema, told newsmen that the airline spent over N300 million to airlift the affected Nigerians.

“We want to send a signal to the world that Nigerians are their brothers’ keepers,” he said.

“I support the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari and this gesture is an assistance to the government to bring our brothers back home.

“We are offering free trip to Nigerians in South Africa to return home after going through the traumatic experience of the attacks.

“Air Peace has said this is free and we are doing it in solidarity with the Federal Government.”

Concise News learned that some Nigerians had been turned back over inadequate documentation for travelling with children.

It was also gathered that about seven others were detained for allegedly entering the country illegally.

Buhari’s Special Envoy Returns From South Africa

Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar, the special envoy sent to South Africa by President Muhammadu Buhari over the renewed xenophobic attacks, has returned to Nigeria.

Abubakar had met with South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in the wake of the attacks against Nigerians and other foreigners in the former apartheid country.

Why Nigeria Won’t Break Diplomatic Relations With South Africa – Onyeama

Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, had on Friday, September 6, told federal lawmakers that the country was not thinking about breaking diplomatic relations with South Africa because it would not be in the interest of Nigerians living there.

Onyeama made this known when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Diaspora in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“We are not thinking to the stage of diplomatic ties called off. There are various options. We are not by any means at a stage where we are breaking diplomatic relations with South Africa,” Onyeama had said.

Attacks on Nigerians, other foreigners in South Africa

There has been tension between the two countries over renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

Assets belonging to Nigerians in South Africa have been targeted, triggering retaliatory attacks against South Africa-linked businesses in parts of Lagos, Ibadan, and the capital – Abuja.

On Tuesday, September 3, Onyeama summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, over the attacks, before President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to the country over the issue.

But the Nigerian government has since cautioned its citizens to stop such attacks.

The minister also dismissed reports that Nigerians have been killed in South Africa.

“We know for a fact that no Nigerian life has been lost so we are extremely concerned now to ensure that there will be adequate compensation for property that have been damaged,” he said.

“It has been happening for far too long, it’s becoming almost endemic, so with the distinguished senators, are helping with some of the options that we may have to ensure that this will be the last time we will ever be meeting to talk about Nigerians attacked in South Africa and to take definitive measures.”