Xenophobia: Travel documents delay evacuation of Nigerians in SA

Air Peace
File photo: Air Peace

The planned evacuation of stranded Nigerians from South Africa offered by Nigeria’s foremost airline, Air Peace, which was slated for Friday might be delayed because most of the voluntary returnees do not have valid travel documents, it has been revealed.

Chairman of the airline, Allen Onyema, had offered the flight free of charge to support the Federal Government’s efforts to provide succour to Nigerians in South Africa following the resurgence of xenophobic attacks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had equally confirmed that the airline would evacuate the stranded Nigerians today.

However, it was learnt that those who have indicated interest in returning home lacked the requisite valid travel documents and their passports have since expired.

Following the development, the flight may take off on Monday or Tuesday to enable the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa get travel certificate for them.

The flight is expected to take off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and land in Lagos on return.

“This process may take one or two days as we envisage many people to take advantage of the flight offer to return home”, one of the sources who pleaded not to be named confirmed.

It was learnt that Air Peace positioned its Boeing 777 Aircraft for the flight since Tuesday but the Nigerian High Commission needed time to register the Nigerians billed to travel.

“They are already doing that in Johannesburg and Pretoria. As the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans worsen, those Nigerians that don’t have legal documents to continue to stay in South Africa are willing to return to their motherland,” the source added.

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