Scores of Nigerian nationals on Wednesday flew out of South Africa in the wake of rising xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans.
The group of about 300 passengers took advantage of a free evacuation offer by local airline operator, Air Peace. The airline’s evacuation plan had been delayed by lack of documentation of beneficiaries.
Nigerian authorities in South Africa subsequently arranged temporal travel certificates for most of those that had offered to return home.
Aside Air Peace’s offer, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced Monday that his government had also made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians.
Victor Isah, a beneficiary told the press: “Yeah, I’m happy anyway, because I’m going to my home, yeah. Despite the fact I couldn’t accomplish my mission here but I got to go so it’s better for me to go home alive than being a dead man.”
Another Nigerian bemoaned the incidents that led to deaths, looting and violent attacks: “They are just after robbing, stealing, stealing from us, we’re black, we are not telling them to steal from us, they steal from us, we are ok but what they (South Africans) are doing to us is not sharp, it’s not sharp bossa.”
In the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa, deadly riots last week in Pretoria and Johannesburg killed at least 12 people and targeted foreign-owned businesses.