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Xenophobia: Nigerians depart South Africa on Saturday

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has scheduled Saturday, barring unforeseen circumstances, as departure date for Nigerians who are willing to leave South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in that country.

TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced that Air Peace Airline would commence the evacuation of Nigerians in South Africa from Sept. 6.

Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Nwonye said that Mr Allen Onyema, Proprietor of Air Peace Airline,  volunteered to send an aircraft from Friday, Sept. 6, to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return free of charge.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that following the recent xenophobic attack on foreign nationals, including Nigerians in South Africa, the Proprietor of Air Peace Airlines, has volunteered to send an aircraft to evacuate Nigerians.

“The general public is hereby advised to inform their relatives in South Africa to take advantage of this laudable gesture.

“Interested Nigerians are therefore advised to liaise with the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria and the Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg for further necessary arrangement,” the statement stated.

Following the recent Xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa on Sunday, several Nigerians have been left stranded and seeking refuge.

The intervention from Air Peace Airline is therefore a ray of hope for many Nigerians seeking to return home to safety.

In a recent public notice published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the generosity of a patriot Nigerian airline operator and philanthropist Chief Allen Onyema to evacuate distressed Nigerians in South Africa who wish to return to Nigeria, has been conveyed and the evacuation is already scheduled for Saturday 7th September 2019, barring unforeseen circumstances.

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Meanwhile, the Nigerian carrier, Air Peace has warned against scammers who are allegedly collecting money from Nigerians in South Africa for their evacuation back to the country.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, told newsmen in Lagos on Thursday that the airline was offering free flights for Nigerians fleeing from xenophobic attacks in South Africa

He said the gesture was part of  the airline support to the government.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with Air Peace will begin the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa on Sept. 6.

Onyema said the airline decided to set the record straight following an email from a Nigerian in South Africa that unauthorised persons were illegally collecting $1,000 from each Nigerian that wanted to take advantage of that flight.

“A Nigerian living in South Africa sent an email to the airline requesting to confirm whether the flight is free because some people were already collecting money for the flight.

“Part of the mail sent by a Nigerian resident in South Africa, Fred Okeke read, “we heard that you are donating the flight for free evacuation from South Africa to Nigeria.

“But, it is very unfortunate to hear that they are asking the affected victims to pay the sum of $1000 as registration to be eligible to benefit from the flight. So I want to bring it to your notice,” he said.

Onyema noted that the development was unfortunate, stressing that the evacuation was free because the airline was concerned about the safety of Nigerians following the attacks.

“We have not designated or recruited any agent in South Africa to collect money on behalf of Air Peace.

“So nobody should pay money to anyone or group of persons posing as Air Peace agent or staff.

“Any Nigerian who has paid money for repatriation to Nigeria with Air Peace should request for a refund and report to appropriate authorities,” he said.

Following the xenophobic attacks, the Federal Government proposed recall of its High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala and also pulled out of the World Economic Summit holding in Cape Town.

The government had also issued travel advice to Nigerians intending to visit South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals.

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