The evacuation of the second batch of Nigerians from South Africa, on Tuesday suffered setback following the delay by the South African authorities to grant landing permit to Air Peace.
Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, had volunteered to evacuate the returnees in the wake of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in the country.
The airline, in collaboration with the Nigerian government, had on September 11, evacuated the first batch of 187 Nigerians from South Africa.
The airline was expected to evacuate another batch of 320 Nigerians, with the flight expected to arrive in Lagos at 7.00pm on Tuesday.
However, chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, told journalists in Lagos that the airline’s B777 aircraft deployed for the operation was still on a standby at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
“We did not take off at 1:00am as scheduled because South African authorities are yet to give us landing permit,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Onyema to have said.
“We are hopeful that they will give us the permit. Our crew waited till 3:00 am, but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel.
“Once we get the permit, we will set off to South Africa. We don’t want to speculate, but we are hopeful they will give the permit,” Onyema said.