Xenophobia: 187 Nigerians Return From South Africa
Air hostesses display placards as some Nigerians evacuated from South Africa arrive at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday (11/9/19). (image courtesy: Okoya Olatunde/BJO/NAN)

More than 319 Nigerians will return to the country on Tuesday following renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa, Concise News reports.

The returnees are expected to land at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos aboard a Boeing 777 – 300 airline operated by Air Peace.

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

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.

Plans In Top Gear

More Nigerians are expected to return to the country, according to the Chairman of Air Peace Allen Onyema who said everything has been put in place for the Nigerians to come back home

“We are fully set for Tuesday, our aircraft and crew will leave about four o clock and get to South Africa about 9 o’clock for the operations,” he told The Nation.

“We hope about 350 Nigerians are ready so that we fly enough passengers not to leave the aircraft empty.”

The Nigerian Consul General in Johannesburg Godwin Adama had on Friday noted that several returnees missed the first flight due to their uncoordinated attitudes.

Adama added that the delay in the evacuation process was because of misplacement of travel documents as required by South African immigration laws.

Clergyman Lends Helping Hand

The founder of the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) Apostle Johnson Suleman had promised to airlift 20 Nigerians from South Africa following renewed xenophobic attacks.

Apostle Suleman in a tweet, urged those Nigerians who wish to return home to register at the Omega Fire Ministries in Johannesburg.

He spoke as 187 Nigerians landed the country from South Africa last week.

“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.”