One hundred and eighty-eight Nigerian returnees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos from South Africa at about 21:35 on Wednesday, 11 September 2019.
The returnees were received by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Emergency Management Agency and the Diaspora Commission and the Bank of Industry.
According to Nigeria’s Channels Television report, the Nigerian carrier, Air Peace Airline, which brought the returnees, was supposed to have arrived at about 18:30 in Lagos but could not take off on schedule in South Africa.
The report added that some Nigerians were turned back over inadequate documentation for travelling with children, while about seven others were detained for allegedly entering the country illegally.
The evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa followed an order by President Muhammadu Buhari on 9 September 2019, to evacuate Nigerians, who are willing to return to the country from South Africa, after several xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians.
Buhari gave this order after he received the report of the special envoy sent to South Africa to convey a Special Message to President Cyril Ramaphosa over the recent xenophobic attacks in that country.
The report also said that the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had assured before the arrival of the returnees that the Nigerian government would support Nigerians, who are being evacuated back to the country from South Africa in the wake of xenophobic attacks.
Dabiri said that immediately they arrive, they would each be given sim cards and airtime that would last almost two months to help them stay in touch with their families.
“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,” Dabiri said.
More than 500 Nigerians have indicated interest to return to the country and it is gathered that another flight will be arriving in Johannesburg to fetch them.