400 Nigerians set to return from South Africa

The Nigerian High Commission in South Africa says no fewer than 400 Nigerians have indicated interest and registered to be evacuated from South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks.

Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, said this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria  on Sunday in Abuja.

Adama said that Air Peace had offered to airlift those willing to return home following attacks on Nigerians and their businesses by South Africans.

According to him, the first batch of Nigerians who are willing to return home will be repatriated on Wednesday.

“We have more than enough for that aircraft. Over 400 Nigerians have already registered; more are still coming,’’ he said.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, also said that Nigerians had responded positively in good numbers.

Bala said, “We are documenting them. Those without travel documents, we shall provide them with emergency travel certificates.

“There are other governmental procedures that we must observe. Relevant agencies of government in Nigeria must be informed and must be ready to receive the returnees.

“Hard work is now going on at the High Commission and Consulate in this regard. As soon as all procedures and relevant protocols are observed, the return is assured and guaranteed.

“A little more patience will be helpful. The response of Nigerians is just amazing.’’

Also, the President, Nigeria Citizens Association, South Africa, Ben Okoli, said all efforts were geared towards evacuation of those who were ready to come back home.

Okoli said, “The consulate is sorting out the issue of documents. Nigerians are being registered and issued with the necessary travel documents to enable them to make the trip to Lagos.

“Some lost their passports in their homes and businesses from the fire that gutted them, while others had their documents and property stolen.”

The association, he said, was still pushing ahead with the demand for compensation as there was sufficient evidence available to them that the attacks were premeditated and orchestrated.

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