187 Nigerians who were evacuated from South Africa have landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. The evacuees, who departed
187 Nigerians who were evacuated from South Africa have landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. The evacuees, who departed OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, around 4p.m aboard an Air Peace Boeing 777 aircraft, touched down at 9:34pm on Wednesday. A foreign affairs ministry official, Mr. Kimiebi Ebenfa, who was on board the flight, confirmed their arrival.
The returnees comprising men, women and children were the first batch of the 640 Nigerians who registered for evacuation following the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. About 313 were billed to leave on Wednesday, but most of them could not travel with the first flight due to lack of travel documents.
Providing an update on the evacuation operation earlier while in South Africa, Ebenfa said the passengers checked in for departure at 3:27 pm. According to him, the flight, which was scheduled for 10a.m. was delayed by the slow check-in process and immigration clearance and system failure.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, had said that those who returned would be given sim cards and airtime that would last almost two months to help them stay in touch with their families adding that the Bank of Industry would also offer entrepreneurship programme to those willing to learn.
“The Bank of Industry will also be here to offer some entrepreneurship programme and some support to start a small business and there would be some stipends for transportation to take you home and we will profile them and for those who want to get any training, they will decide what kind of training they want to do and the Bank of industry will be there to provide it,” she said.
Hundreds of Nigerians had on Wednesday morning gathered at the Nigeria consulate in South Africa where buses moved them in batches to the OR Tambo airport. This development follows a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa. The president gave this order after receiving the report of the special envoy evaluating xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
It was also gathered that a second plane will arrive in South Africa on Friday to take more Nigerians willing to return.