Air Peace begins evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa

The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) on Tuesday said the Nigerian High Commission and consulate had given a figure of about 640 people who were scheduled for evacuation from South Africa following spates of xenophobic attacks on foreigners.

The President of NUSA, Adetola Olubajo, adding that the first batch of about 320 people would leave on Wednesday (today) around 9am.

“We believe that more people will still show interest. We want the kind of gesture that has been shown by Air Peace to be extended by other well-meaning Nigerians or aviation operators because those that are willing to leave should be given the opportunity”, Olubajo added.

Asked if other Nigerians who had opted to remain in South Africa were scared of more attacks, he said, “Yes, but we are getting assurances of safety from the South African authorities. Pretoria was handled very well. A visible police presence was in Pretoria; so it curbed attacks.

“But in Johannesburg, they have not been able to solve that. We hope that they will do what they have promised; to protect the lives and property of foreign nationals.”

The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, warned Nigerians scheduled for repatriation from South Africa to refrain from paying $1,000 or any amount of money for their flight.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Onyema said the arrangement for Nigerians willing to return had not changed, adding that it remained free.

He said, “We have not designated or recruited any agent in South Africa to collect money on behalf of Air Peace. So, nobody should pay money to anyone.

“Any Nigerian who has paid money for repatriation to Nigeria with Air Peace should request for a refund and report to appropriate authorities.”

The airline had last week volunteered to send an aircraft to evacuate Nigerians, free of charge, from South Africa.

Onyema said the evacuation, which would be done with the airline’s Boeing 777, was a support for the Federal Government’s efforts.

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