Xenophobic Attacks: Tears Of Joy As 187 Nigerians Return To Lagos (PHOTOS)

Xenophobic Attacks: Tears Of Joy As 187 Nigerians Return To Lagos (PHOTOS)

By Wires Editor | The Trent on September 12, 2019
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Allen Onyema,
Nigerian Returnees from South Africa on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It was harrowing experience for some Nigerians who were airlifted from the OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg.

Their flight, which was scheduled to take off at 9:10 am, was delayed for about seven hours.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman of the Nigerians in diaspora commission, confirmed that immigration issues triggered the delay.

But the many hours of waiting and anxiety ended as the Boeing 777 aircraft belonging to Air Peace landed at the late hours of Wednesday, September 11, 2019, at the Lagos Airport.

Xenophobia South Africa
Air Peace CEO, Mr Allen Onyema receiving a rousing applaud as he welcomes back the Nigerians stranded in South-Africa amid Xenophobic attacks after sending an free evacuation/rescue flight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Cargo and Hajj Terminal in Lagos on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The aircraft touched down at 9.37pm and taxied to the premises of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, with returnees recounting tales of regrets.

Relying on the flight manifest, Dabiri-Erewa said 231 males and 86 females were preparing to return home on Wednesday, September 11, 2019.

As they alighted from the aircraft they expressed bitter experiences in the hands of their South African hosts.

They were received at a temporary camp opened for their profiling by Dabiri-Erewa, who said the government has available to each of them N40, 000.00 recharge card to enable them communicate with their family members.

In appreciation of the gestures, the returnees rose in euphoria to sing the national anthem.

An Osun State indigene who identified himself as Saheed, lamented how he was sacked from work for being a Nigerian.

He narrated how he was subjected to discrimination despite working in Pretoria for more than five years.

Another returnee from Edo State, who identified himself as Anthony Joshua, described his trauma as unfortunate.

He called on the government to cut ties with South Africa because of the maltreatment of Nigerians.

Allen Onyema, the chairman of Air Peace, said the offer to air lift the trapped Nigerians was the least he could do to assist .

He lamented how South African authorities delayed the flight for over 12 hours just to punish Nigerians.

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In her remark, Mrs. Dabiri Erewa praised the airline for its patriotic act.

As at 10.45 pm, the profiling of the returnees was ongoing by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.

Dabiri-Erewa spoke of an arrangement with the Bank of Industry, BoI, to offer entrepreneurship programmes to those willing to learn.

She said: “The BoI will also be here to offer some entrepreneurship programmes 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.”

According to Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa, 320 Nigerians were scheduled to be evacuated on Wednesday.

It was learnt that a second plane would arrive in South Africa on Thursday, September 12, 2019, to bring the second batch of 320.

Six hundred and forty Nigerians signed to be evacuated back home following unending attacks targeted at foreigners in South Africa.

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