Due to the series of attacks on Nigerians and their properties in South Africa, a Nigerian airline, Air Peace provided an aircraft to evacuate willing Nigerians from South Africa back to Nigeria.
First batch of the returnees, which consisted of 178 Nigerians, boarded the flight in Johannesburg on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. Although the flight was earlier scheduled to take off at 9:00 am, it did not leave until 2:30 pm due to immigration documentation hitches that some of the passengers encountered.
The delay of the flight caused panic among Nigerians at home who were waiting to receive their countrymen – with some of them already positioned at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos before 9:00 am.
Airport staff awaiting arrival of the returnees
>>> The Nigerian government intervened but to no avail! Xenophobia: FG condemns attacks on Nigerians, advises against traveling to volatile areas in SA
Godwin Adama, Nigeria Consul General in the city of Johannesburg, had earlier on given Nigerians the assurance that the evacuation process would be seamless. According to him, they were working closely with the South African mission to carry out necessary documentation for the returnees, and ensure that Non-Nigerians did not board the free flight provided by Air Peace.
“We are documenting people through filling of relevant form with information such as place of birth, state of origin, local government areas.”
Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema, had earlier disclosed the airline’s commitment to offer an aircraft for Nigerians who wanted to come back home, at no cost.
“Air Peace is willing to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts in this matter by deploying our B777 aircraft to evacuate Nigerians back home.”
The returnees were relieved to be back home
The flight landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos by 9:230pm with the passengers.
313 Nigerians were initially scheduled to board the flight, but only 178 were cleared to board after the documentation carried out.
>>> For latest news in the automotive industry, always visit Naijauto.com!