Following the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, more than 300 Nigerians have reportedly registered for evacuation from the country.
This is coming following the approval by the Federal Government that any Nigerian that is willing to return home should indicate interest.
According to Punch, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, on Friday, September 6, 2019, disclosed that over 300 Nigerians had registered for the exercise, adding that the time and date of departure would be announced later.
In an interview with the Newspaper, Nwoye said, “They are collating the names and as at the last one hour (3.50pm), they have registered like 300 persons and the meeting of the special envoy is ongoing, the high commissioner is there with him.”
Recall that in the heat of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and retaliatory attacks on South African businesses in Nigeria, Nwoye on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, announced that Air Peace offered free flights to Nigerians who are willing to return home from the former apartheid country.
He said in a statement, “The ministry wishes to inform the general public that following the recent unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the proprietor of Air Peace Airlines, Chief Allen Onyema, has volunteered to send a plane from September 6 to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge.
“The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture.”
The recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and their business in South Africa started on Sunday, September 1, 2019.
According to the South African Police, five people were killed in the attacks as South African mobs launched attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians, and looted and burnt their places of business in suburbs of Johannesburg and surrounding areas.
Due to the violent attacks on Nigerians, the Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, withdrew its participation from the World Economic Forum holding in South Africa.
Nigeria also recalled its Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, in protest of xenophobic attacks on its nationals in the country.