The Nigerian Mission in South Africa has revealed that no fewer than 400 Nigerians have shown interest and registered to be evacuated from South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks.
Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg- Godwin Adama, disclosed this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
Adama said that Air Peace had volunteered 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 there was a positive reaction 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 adjusted towards the 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 National Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, South Africa, Archbishop Benson Uhwa, said arrangements were being made to evacuate Nigerians in police custody back to Nigeria.
He explained that many Nigerians detained for visa violations had been languishing in South African police custody for a long time.
Uhwa, a member of the Nigerian community coordinating the evacuation of Nigerians over the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa disclosed that the South African authorities refused to deport the detainees, claiming that they had no funds for their flight.