Wednesday 18 September 2019

817 Nigerians Waiting For Evacuation In South Africa - FG

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No fewer than 320 were supposed to be evacuated on Tuesday, but the exercise was delayed because South Africa initially did not grant an Air Peace aircraft, a landing permit.

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No fewer than 817 Nigerians had yet to be evacuated from South Africa as of  Tuesday.
The Federal Government had on Wednesday  last week evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa following  xenophobic attacks on them and other Africans.
On Tuesday, the Consul-General, Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, Godwin Adama,  in a telephone interview with  one of  our correspondents, said the number of those who had registered  for evacuation had increased to 1,004.
Last week, the Federal Government had said 604 registered   for evacuation.
No fewer than 320 were supposed to be evacuated on Tuesday, but the exercise was delayed because South Africa initially did not grant an Air Peace aircraft, a landing permit.
The evacuation of 187 Nigerians last week  was delayed for  15 hours  by the South African authorities.
With the registration of 1,004 and evacuation of 187 last week, at least 817 people were awaiting to be evacuated on Tuesday.
The Consul-General, Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, told The PUNCH that 320 Nigerians would be evacuated on Wednesday.
According to him,  the technical issues faced during the first evacuation are being addressed.
He complained that some individuals, who registered for evacuation, failed to show up. He added that officials had been contending with such discouraging tendencies from the people.
Adama  explained that about five coaches were being filled with people for the trip to the airport, including many children.
Some who registered for evacuation failed to show up – Consular
He said, “We have been working since 6am when I got here (consulate). I have not sat down. We have 320 coming back tomorrow(Wednesday).Some people who are supposed to be on the flight, when you call their names, they are not here.  We have registered 1,004 persons.  When these ones go, we will still have people on the ground.”
Adama further disclosed that those without valid  Nigerian passport were being issued emergency travel certificates, adding that certain documentation and immigration issues had also been addressed.
He noted, “Right now, we have five coaches here which we are loading. There are so many children. Those who don’t have current valid passport have been issued emergency travel certificates and we have ensured that their documentation is correct so that we won’t have the challenges we had the other time.

“We are also working with the host authorities – immigration and protocol – so  that by tomorrow (Wednesday)   things can be seamless.”
Plans to bring back 25 detained Nigerians
Asked about plans for the evacuation of Nigerians in custody of the South Africa law enforcement agencies, the envoy revealed that those in custody would also be returned on subsequent flights.
Adama disclosed that many Nigerians were being held in various detention facilities across South Africa, adding that the Nigerian High Commission was in touch with only 25 of them.
“We are ready to take those who are in detention camps, but we don’t have space right now because they (South Africa) didn’t finalise the process. If we have the opportunity, next time, we would take them.

“I would not know the exact number now because we have not visited all the detention centres. We are in touch with 25 but they are far more than that in different centres,” the CG explained.
Commenting on the alleged cancellation of valid visas held by Nigerians during the evacuation of the first batch, Adama said only few persons were affected, noting that they informed him that they had no plan to return to South Africa.

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