Xenophobia: first batch 320 Nigerian returnees to leave S/Africa by 9 a.m. today -Mission

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The Nigeria Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama has said that first batch of the Nigerian returnees from South Africa will be airlifted from Johannesburg to Lagos by 9 a.m. on Wednesday

Adama who said this in a telephone interview with journalists on Tuesday in Abuja said that first batch made up of 320 passengers.According to him Air Peace would begin evacuation of over 600 Nigerians who had registered to come back home following the xenophobic attacks on them and their businesses in South Africa.

“The first flight leaves by 0900 hrs on Wednesday with about 320 passengers and the second batch will leave on Thursday all things being equal.

“We have over 600 who had indicated interest all things being equal without any hitches, the plane will take off by 0900 hrs on Wednesday.

“The manifest for the first flight is ready and we are working on the next flight,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Monday ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.

Buhari gave the instruction when he received the Report of the Special Envoy to South Africa, Amb Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

It could be recalled that the Chairman of Air Peace Mr Allen Onyema, had last week volunteered to send aircraft to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return home free of charge.

“Air Peace is willing to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts in this matter by deploying our B777 aircraft to evacuate Nigerians back home,” Onyema said.

The Chairman of the Air Peace had also warned the returnees not to pay any money as the exercise was free of charge.

Onyema said the airline decided to set the record straight following an email from a Nigerian in South Africa that unauthorised persons were illegally collecting 1,000 dollar from each Nigerian that wanted to take advantage of that flight.

He noted that the development was unfortunate, stressing that the evacuation was free because the airline was concerned about the safety of Nigerians following the attacks.

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 or group of persons posing as Air Peace agent or staff.

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

 

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