Another batch of 315 Nigerian returnees arrive Lagos from S’Africa

The second batch comprising 315 returnees from South Africa arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos on Wednesday.

The figure added to the first batch of 187 will increase the number of returnees from South Africa to 502 returnees in the last two weeks.

The 315 Nigerians came back home aboard an Air Peace Boeing 777 aircraft which arrived MMIA, Lagos at 7:21pm on Wednesday.

They include men, women and some with little children. In total, the returnees were mainly 200 adults and about 115 younger people.

Speaking at the airport, Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Barrister Allen Onyema said that no country should mess up with Nigeria.

He said that it is the love he has for the country that made him decide to evacuate the returnees free of charge.

He observed that this is the first time world over that a single individual would do evacuation all alone.

He promised that more evacuation will be made but adequate arrangements must be made for seamless process.

Onyema noted that the non-violent approach adopted by Nigeria is what brought about the success recorded do far.

“It is the non-violent approach that Nigeria took that made South Africa to start begging. This is because evacuating one’s nationals from another country will not encourage tourism into the country,” Onyema added.

Also speaking, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri – Erewa said that she is happy that the Nigerians returned safely.

She said some organisations such as MTN, Airtel, Bank of Industry (Boi) have been very supportive, adding that other Nigerians, NGOs should joins Nigerians to support the returnees.

Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said that some stipends, ranging from N35, 000 to N40, 000 have been provided for them for their transport fares back to their different homes.

She informed that there are arrangements for entrepreneur training skills for the returnees and also a channel for follow ups and feedbacks.

She commended the Lagos State Government and other Nigerians who supported the evacuation process.

A returnee, Daniel Udom who spoke with journalists at the airport, said: “I have spent 6 years in SA. When my paper expired, they refused to renew it. I was actually working there”.

Another returnee, who identified himself as Anthony, said he is happy to be back home alive despite all the challenges he passed through”.

Before the Air Peace aircraft departed Lagos to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg at very early hours Wednesday, the South African Authorities had delayed the journey due to issues that have to do with landing permit.

Meanwhile, evacuation of returnees from South Africa commenced last week, following series of xenophobic attacks meted on Nigerians and other black African nationals.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on September 9, 2019, ordered the evacuation of Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa.

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