Placard-carrying Nigerian returnees alighting from the Air Peace flight at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria / Photo: NAN

Xenophobia: Nigerian mission in South Africa denies arrest of returnees

The Nigerian mission in South Africa, on Friday, denied arrest report of Nigerian returnees by the immigration during the course of evacuation.

On Wednesday, 189 Nigerians were evacuated from South Africa, in the wake of xenophobic attacks on them and other foreign nationals living in the country.

Godwin Adama, Nigerian Consul-General in Johannesburg, South Africa / Photo: Nigerian Consulate General in South Africa


The Air Peace flight, which volunteered to evacuate the returnees, arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Wednesday. 

Read Also: S/Africa: Nigerian returnees narrate tales of woe as government plans reintegration programme 

Speaking however with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Godwin Adama, Nigeria Consul-general in Johannesburg, said no returnee was detained or prevented to board the flight by the South African authorities.

He said the returnees who missed their flight either had “attitude” issue or could not provide their travel documents, making them ineligible to travel.

“Some will still tell you that they put their documents inside bags that had been checked into the plane; some even said that they had theirs stolen and all that. Then others have issues of expired passports,” he said.

The consul general said the issues of travel documents caused delay and the second batch flight had to be rescheduled.

READ ALSO Nigerian returnees from South Africa narrate tales of woe 

The only case of possible arrest, according to Adama, was that of a woman who wanted to travel with children that were not hers. He said the case was treated as human trafficking.

“We equally resolved that too, as the father of the children came to the airport for identification,’’ he said.

Adama stressed that the mission was working to ensure that enough returnees were on ground to occupy the next flight coming to evacuate them,

“We are liaising with the South African authorities too; we are putting up a joint meeting with the host immigration service and other protocols,” said Adama.

“We are all on the same page before the next exercise.”

He added that, “the next batch of passengers will not be ready on Friday because we are not prepared for that but we want to finalise and send them the manifest.”

Raphael Adenaike

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