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South African returnees to receive loans, airtime

The Chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says the Nigerians returning from South Africa will receive sim cards with airtime worth N40,000 and 9GB of valid data for two months.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement that they would also receive stipend to convey them to their destinations, and a soft loan from the Bank of Industry to support those interested in small scale businesses.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa added that a program of reintegration would be put in place subsequently.

Finally touched down

187 Nigerians were successfully been evacuated from South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks in that country.

The Airpeace aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 series finally touched down at the Murtala Muhammad international airport at about 9.35 pm Wednesday.

Several agencies were on ground to receive the returnees.

The flight departed Johannesburg after alleged bottlenecks by South African immigration.

The flight was earlier scheduled for 9am.

Immediately the aircraft door was opened, the returnees, including children, alighted with smiles and thanked the federal government and the airline.

Behind the smiles, songs and appreciation that filled the air were tales of woes according to Radio Nigeria’s Nosa Aituamen.

They narrated their experiences and their fortune to have escaped the attacks.

“The situation is terrible my brother, we were all scared, we felt so uncomfortable that the best thing we had to do was to come home. They are killing my people, yesterday another Nigerian died, they tell social media that Nigerian did not die, it is a lie, they are killing
Nigerians, they keep them in the mortuary, some have died in the bush”, one said with so much emotions in hs voice.

Businesses and means of livelihood were destroyed as attackers moved from house to house and shops looting and burning.

“Lock up shops, they burn all the cars inside, wickedness. They come together, they start breaking the shops, burning the shops, stealing things”, another victim narrated.

Chairman, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa said it was a challenge getting Nigerians out of South Africa because of the immigration officials in South Africa became stumbling blocks to the evacuation.

“They frustrated us deliberately just because they didn’t want it to happen but it has happened, so out of 317, Airpeace was able to do 187 and we are glad they are back and President Buhari has ordered that any Nigerians that want to come back should do so voluntarily. You can see the joy and beauty of coming home”.

She said plans have been concluded by the government to reintegrate the returnees.

Chairman Airpeace airlines, Mr Allen Onyema who accompanied the aircraft to and from South Africa in an interview on arrival told journalists that he was happy to have helped.

“I want to implore all Nigerians to be his/her brother’s keeper and am just thankful to God for giving me the heart to be able to take that decision, it was something I did happily for my nation and in support of the government”

Officials of the bank of  Industry was on ground to educate the returnees on plans to train them to set up businesses.

The returnees were each given stipend and sim cards after their profiling and allowed to leave.

Some were received by families members who came to pick them at the airport.

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