Airline, not Nigerian govt, offered to ‘evacuate’ Nigerians from SA - Dlodlo

Elias Hubbard
September 11, 2019

Meanwhile, Abike Dabiri, head of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, said the government would not provide financial assistance to those leaving South Africa.

Rather, a private individual, who owns an airline, has offered to repatriate approximately 600 Nigerians amid a wave of attacks aimed at foreign nationals.

The country has seen sporadic attacks on migrants, including Nigerians and Sudanese, the worst of which occurred in 2008 when about 60 people were killed and more than 50 000 forced from their homes.

"Estimated numbers of Nigerians for the first batch is 313, second batch will be evacuated later this week", Onyeama said.

Dlodlo said this hours after a thread of tweets were sent out by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in which, among others, he said: "We have made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home".

"Government is deeply saddened by this occurrence and is now in the process of making arrangements to urgently repatriate the affected citizens back home".

There is high unemployment in South Africa, where locals often accuse foreigners of taking their jobs, committing crimes and unfairly competing with them in running retail businesses.

The violence has left many shops in Johannesburg plundered.

The moment the Air Peace airline evacuating Nigerians from South Africa landed at the MMIA in Lagos
The moment the Air Peace airline evacuating Nigerians from South Africa landed at the MMIA in Lagos

Protesters in Nigeria responded with anger to the violence in South Africa and looted South African-owned businesses operating in Nigeria.

Four MTN franchise stores in Nigeria, which are owned by Nigerians, were damaged and the Johannesburg-based company is helping rebuild them, Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter told reporters Monday.

Meanwhile, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula who is the South African minister of defence said that it will be hard to prevent the attack against foreign national because they were planned by criminals.

"The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa, who might be interested, to take advantage of this laudable gesture".

Telephones were not answered for further details on how this operation would be carried out, and comment was not immediately available from Air Peace.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation hasn't been notified of the evacuation plans, spokesperson Clayson Monyela said by phone from Pretoria.

It was reported however that some Nigerians who did not have proper documentation had difficulty in being able to be flown back to the country.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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