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Nigeria to repatriate its 600 citizens from South Africa amid fresh xenophobic attacks

Nigeria has confirmed it will repatriate about 600 of its citizens from South Africa this week following the brutal wave of xenophobic violence. The Nigerian consul general in Johannesburg confirmed the development, which follows intermittent xenophobic attacks targeting Nigerians and other African nationals.

A Nigeria diplomat has confirmed that Nigeria will this week repatriate about 600 of its citizens from South Africa following the brutal wave of xenophobic violence. 

Godwin Adamu, the Nigerian consul general in Johannesburg confirmed the development, which comes after intermittent xenophobic attacks targeting Nigerian citizens, and other African nationals living in Johannesburg, and other parts of South Africa.

Adamu told AFP, “They are about 600 now” waiting to be repatriated back to Nigeria, and a first flight will carry 320 Nigerians.

“We will have another one immediately after that,” he added.

Air Peace has offered to airlift willing Nigerians from South Africa back to the country free of charge, and the airline has been applauded for the humanitarian gesture.

File picture: President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari delivers his speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 03 February 2016. Photo: ANP/EPA Patrick Seeger.

Buhari calls for strong action

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for the South African government to take strong, and visible measures to stop violence against citizens of African nations.

President Buhari also commented on the repatriation writing on Twitter: “Let me also say that we have made arrangements for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return home. I have directed the relevant agencies to ensure this is done speedily and efficiently”.

“On our own part let me reiterate that the Nigerian Government will continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the lives, property and business interests of Nigerians in South Africa, and of South Africans in Nigeria,” President Buhari added.

It is concerning to note the resurgence of fresh xenophobic attacks in South Africa, which shows the problem has no signs of slowing down. In the fresh attacks, at least two people have  since died and dozens arrested in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Human rights groups continue to call for strong and concrete measures to strengthen the rule of law to prevent further outbreaks of violence and criminality.

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