Lagos — The second batch of Nigerians evacuated from South Africa arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, yesterday.
No fewer than 315 returnees, comprising 290 adults and 25 infants, were on board the Air Peace flight APK 7818 which touched down at the airport at from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg at about 7:30 pm.
The returnees were in a happy mood as they disembarked from the Boeing 777 aircraft with registration 5N-BWI and were received by the Chairman of the Airline, Mr. Allen Onyema.
However, journalists were not allowed access to the returnees at the airside and the Hajj camp where they were profiled.
Air Peace had offered to evacuate the stranded Nigerians in the wake of the xenophobic attacks with the first batch of 187 arriving last Wednesday.
Onyema assured that the airline would be willing to evacuate more Nigerians who wish to return home, saying the decision to evacuate them was a signal to the world that nobody can mess with Nigeria.
According to him, it was regrettable that Nigerians were targeted in South Africa despite their contributions to the economy of the country.
Chairman/CEO of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa who received the returnees alongside other agencies including the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the airline had some delays in South Africa which was later resolved.
She disclosed that the Lagos State Government is supporting the returnees with N20,000 as transport fare apart from the empowerment programmes being worked out for them through the Bank of Industry (BoI).
She said: "We were once again delayed in South Africa, but we are happy that they are all here and you can see that they are happy to return home.
"There are some packages for them from the Federal Government. The Lagos State Government is also supporting them with the sum of N20,000 as transport fare to their various destinations. In all, they will get the sum of N30,000 as transport fares back to their destinations."