Xenophobia: Nigerian Returnees Recount Experience In 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)

Some Nigerians who returned to the country following renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa have been recounting their experiences in the country.

Concise News reports that the first batch of 187 Nigerians in South Africa returned to Nigeria on Wednesday night.

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The returnees – comprising adults, children and infants – joyfully sang the Nigerian National Anthem on arrival.

Nigeria’s government, with the support of Air Peace, aided the return of the Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari, had on September 8, ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians who had indicated interest to leave South Africa after receiving report from the Special Envoy deployed to the country.

It was learned that 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.

The returnees were full of joy, some of them punching the air as they sang the national anthem.

One of the returnees who identified himself as Samson Aliyu said he was a clothes seller and had been in South Africa for two years.

“I ran for my life, they would have killed me,” he told AFP. “They burnt my shop, everything.”

Also, Pastor Ugo Ofoegbu, who has been in South Africa for close to 20 years, said he sent his wife and three children back to Nigeria.

“My family is not safe here,” Ofoegbu told Al Jazeera.

Govt’s Promise

The Nigerian government has promised to give grants and loans to the returnees to start life afresh.

Clergyman Comes To Rescue

Also,  Apostle Suleman of the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) promised to pay the flight tickets for Nigerians who wish to return home.

He told them to register at the Omega Fire Ministries in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Just heard 900 Nigerians want to return home from SA,” he said. “I asked the flight tickets be bought for 20 Nigerians in South Africa who want to return home.

“I will take care of the cost; please, register at out church in Johannesburg; We will airlift more by God’s grace. God keep you all alive.”