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Xenophobia: Lagos govt gives South Africa returnees N20,000 each

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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday gave the sum of N20,000 to each of the 315 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the fresh batch of returnees arrived a week after another 187 Nigerians fleeing xenophobia came back from South Africa.

The joyous returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 7.21p.m aboard an Air Peace B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.

The flight, which originated from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg was received by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema.

Also on ground was Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Diaspora.

Presenting the token on behalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the money was a palliative measure for the returnees.

Sanwo-Olu said that the returnees from Lagos State would be transferred to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, where they would be trained on skill acquisition.

Dabiri-Erewa told newsmen that the returnees would be profiled according to their states and Local Governments of origin to complement the Federal Government’s effort in reintegrating them.

She said apart from giving the returnees stipends to get back to their respective states, there was also a medical team on ground to provide assistance to those with medical conditions.

Dabiri-Erewa also noted that the Nigeria High Commission was working with the South African authorities to reduce the unnecessary delays which had so far characterised the evacuation exercise.

On his part, Onyema told newsmen that some Nigerians had been stranded in South Africa for over four years and could not return home due to financial difficulties and lack of proper documentation.

He said, “What Air Peace is doing to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa as part of our support for the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and we are doing it wholeheartedly.

“The airline is only asking  the government to do what it has been doing to facilitate the smooth return of the Nigerians.

“We are not asking for any refund because we knew that the cost of evacuating the Nigerians will exceed N300 million at the end of the day.

“We are so happy that even our pilots and crew that went to South Africa refused to take their allowances saying that it is their own way of showing patriotism,” Onyema said.

He commended the Nigerian government for the matured diplomatic way it was handling the xenophobia issue with its South African counterpart and called on other well-meaning Nigerians to assist in the resettlement of the returnees.

One of the returnees, Chuks Okoma from Delta State, thanked God for sparing his life considering the ordeal faced by Nigerians in South Africa.

Okoma said that he had been in South Africa for six years without a job and sleeping on the street.

Another returnee, Michael Udoh, narrated how some foreigners were burnt in South Africa, adding that they were unable to move around.

Udoh, who had been in South Africa for six years, said that the country refused to renew his work permit after it expired, thus making him jobless.

(NAN)

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Support our journalism with a contribution of any size

Nigeria's media space is swamped with falsehood, deceit and delusion. Just a handful abides by the truth. TheNigerian is one of the unique platforms helping to shape the global narrative about Nigeria and her citizens across the world. It's quite costly to maintain this brand of journalism, however.

Readers from around the world, like you, make TheNigerian's work possible. We need your support to deliver quality, investigative journalism – and to keep it open for everyone. At a time when factual, honest reporting is critical, your support is essential in protecting our editorial independence. Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future.

Our brand of professional citizens' journalism requires a contribution from members of the public, patronage and sponsorship to thrive. We rely on this financial support to be able to carry out our numerous obligations of training, running cost, production, printing and general services. We also embark on Corporate Social Responsibilities through educational programs on our TV, newspaper and blogs.

Make a token donation to support us:
Account Name: Patriot and Sage Digital Communication Ltd
Account No: 1015619537
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