The plan by the Air Peace Airline to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa from Sept. 6 suffered a setback as the majority of those interested in the process have expired passports.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline with the support of the Federal Government had scheduled to begin evacuating Nigerians from South Africa on Sept. 6.
This was a sequel to the ongoing xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in that country.
Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, said in a statement in Lagos on Friday that most of the potential returnees were yet to renew their documents.
Onyema said the airline had already placed its Boeing 777 aircraft on standby and was only awaiting the go-ahead from the government.
“The Air Peace flight to South Africa will take off from the Lagos Airport and also return to Lagos. As earlier stated, the take-off could be Sept 9 or Sept 10.
“This is because the Nigerians in South Africa have to obtain travel certificates because many of them do not have travel documents and their passports have expired.
“Air Peace has placed its aircraft, Boeing 777 for the flight since Sept. 3, but the Nigerian High Commission needed time to register the Nigerians billed to travel.
“And, they are already doing that in Johannesburg and Pretoria.”
Onyema described the attacks against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa as unfortunate, especially with the alleged tacit support being given to the perpetrators by the authorities.
He advised Nigerians without legal documents in South Africa to take advantage of the evacuation flight to return to the country.
NAN reports that the Federal Government has pulled out of World Economic Summit holding in Cape Town and also proposed recall of its Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala
The government had also issued travel advice to Nigerians intending to visit South Africa due to the xenophobic attacks.