Xenophobia: 187 Nigerians Return From South Africa
Some Nigerians evacuated from South Africa on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, NAN

The second batch of 314 Nigerians in South Africa returned to Nigeria on Wednesday night after the renewed xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid country.

Concise News gathered that the returnees  – comprising adults, children and infants – arrived at the international airport in Lagos around 7:22 p.m. after departing Thambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

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But four passengers, according to a report by Channels TV, were dropped over documentation issues.

The first batch of 187 Nigerians in South Africa had earlier returned to Nigeria.

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

The Nigerian government, with the support of Air Peace, aided the return of the Nigerians.

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.

Dabiri-Erewa told journalists that more than 600 Nigerians had indicated interest to return from South Africa.

She also said that the government was ready to assist them to settle back in the country through its various social intervention programmes.

According to her, the Bank of Industry had also been mobilised to assist those willing to acquire vocational skills.

Stipends, Dabiri-Erewa said, would be given to these Nigerians to enable them get back to their respective states, while telecommunication company, MTN, will also give them pre-loaded Sim cards of N6,000 to assist them.

Also speaking, the Air Peace boss, 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.”

Some Nigerians evacuated from South Africa on arrival at the MMA, Ikeja. Image credit: The Punch
Some Nigerians evacuated from South Africa on arrival at the MMA, Ikeja. Image credit: The Punch