The first batch of about 320 Nigerians from South Africa are expected to arrive the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, through the Hajj and cargo terminal at 2pm today.
The evacuation aircraft belonging to airpeace a Boeing 777-200 series left MMIA last night at 11:30 pm and it is expected to take off from Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg by 9:00 am South Africa time to arrive this afternoon.
The voluntary returnees are expected to be received on arrival at the MMIA by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
Following the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa, more than 600 Nigerians are reported to have registered for evacuation from the country and Air Peace has scheduled to make a return flight to bring the citizens back today and tomorrow, if the Nigerian High Commission is able to complete the documentation in time for the second batch of Nigerians to be evacuated back home.
Chairman Airpeace, Mr. Allen Onyema said the airline decided to airlift Nigerians in order to support the federal government.
“We want to send a signal to the world that Nigerians are their brother’s keeper and I support the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari who would have done the same as private citizen, knowing the role he played when Nigeria faced similar challenge as a military officer. We are offering free trip to Nigerians in South Africa to return home after going through the traumatic experience of the attacks. Air Peace has said this is free and we are doing it in solidarity with the federal government”.