640 Nigerians living in South Africa will be evacuated after a wave of xenophobic attacks threatened their peace.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Monday afternoon that his government had made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home.
“We will continue to put pressure on the South African Government to take concrete and visible measures to stop violence against citizens of other African nations,” Buhari said in a statement.
“The recurring issue of xenophobia and attacks on African nationals remains very worrying,” the President added.
The President’s media aide Femi Adesina issued a statement to reporters:
“President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it.”
Flights carrying the first batch of returnees will leave Johannesburg on Wednesday, said Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairwoman of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission.
“We have 640 Nigerians that want to come back from South Africa, and that will require two planes. There may be more people who want to leave, but we will know when we get to South Africa on Wednesday,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the deadly violence and called on law enforcement to maintain vigilance and firmness when dealing with the individuals involved.
“Government will not allow sporadic lawlessness and violence to disrupt the safety and livelihoods of millions of South Africans and the majority of foreign nationals in our country who are law-abiding and have the right to conduct their lives and businesses in peace,” Ramaphosa said in a statement on Monday.
“Lawlessness, injury and death inflict a great psychological and economic cost that lasts long after victims are buried, arrests are made and streets are cleared. This cost holds back our country and undermines all the efforts we are making to grow a South Africa that offers opportunity to all who live in it.”