Lagos – After hours of waiting for the arrival of Nigerians from South Africa, the first batch of 189 on Wednesday eventually landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, following xenophobic attacks in that country.
This is as some of the returnees claimed that Nigerians were killed in South Africa and thrown into pits.
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The Nigerian government had expected 320 returnees in the first batch with another 300 penciled to arrive the country today (Thursday).
But it was gathered that drama played out in South Africa as that country’s immigration service aborted the already taxiing aircraft of Air Peace to carry out another round of checks on Nigerians.
The second round of checks on the already boarded returnees led to the stoppage of over 125 from departing the country, despite their readiness to leave.
The Air Peace’s Boeing 777-300 with the registration number: 5N-BWI that was configured to airlift 350 passengers later departed South Africa with only 189 returnees.
The aircraft was scheduled to arrive Nigeria at 2p.m, but eventually touched down at 9:34p.m, while the returnees went through another round of profiling in the country.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, in an interview with journalists, regretted the action of the South African government.
She also confirmed that the South African authorities were uncooperative with the Nigerian government, but insisted that Nigeria would continue to preach love.
According to her, the South African Immigration Service frustrated Nigerians from departing their country by asking them series of questions on their travel documents and how they got to South Africa.
She said: “South Africa is frustrating the Nigerian government. Nigeria will continue to preach love and we hope South Africa will reciprocate that.
“Even when the aircraft was taxiing to take off, the South African authorities still stopped the aircraft from taking off. They had to conduct another round of profiling on some of the boarded passengers.”
Some of the returnees lamented their ordeal in South Africa, insisting that some Nigerians were killed during the crisis.
A returnee, Aliyu Saheed from Osun State, debunked the claim in some quarters that no Nigerian was killed.
Saheed insisted that tens of Nigerians were murdered in the country and thrown into pits with the South African government doing nothing to stop them.
The post Xenophobic Attacks: 189 Nigerians Return From South Africa appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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