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Xenophobia: Intending returnees from South Africa lack travel documents, says airline

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Air Peace plane waiting at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport yesterday, ready for the evacuation of Nigerians willing to return home from South Africa


• Jonathan, Moon, Others Rally For Peace On The Continent
The plan by the Air Peace Airline to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa from September 6 (yesterday) has suffered a setback as majority of those interested in the process only have expired passports.

The airline with the support of the Federal Government had scheduled to begin evacuating Nigerians from South Africa since yesterday. This was sequel to the ongoing xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in that country.The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said in a statement in Lagos yesterday 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 September 9 or September 10.

“This is because 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, on stand-by for the flight since September 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.

Many Nigerians both at home and in South Africa had expressed joy following Air Peace Airlines pronouncement to airlift troubled Nigerians in South Africa, in the wake of Xenophobia attack in the country.The chairman of Air Peace Airlines, Onyema, had promised to send aircrafts to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return home from South Africa as from September 6 free of charge following the recent xenophobic attacks carried out on foreign nationals in that country.

Meanwhile, former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and founder of the Universal Peace Federation International, Dr. Hak Moon, yesterday also rallied for peaceful coexistence in South Africa and other African countries, as they urged governments to invest more in a united Africa.Jonathan, who is the Chairman of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP) for Africa, said it was disheartening to find crisis and conflicts in many parts of the continent that used to be her brother’s keeper.

The former president, at the opening of African Summit 2019 in São Tomé, said his group had, however, reached out to all sitting African leaders towards charting a path to a more peaceful region.He said a peaceful, united and prosperous Africa that is centred on universal values is the way to go.

“But we must remember that peace is not like rain that falls from heaven. It is a seed that we must plant and nurture it to grow. We must start by building hopes in our people, love and justice. “African leaders must be encouraged to treat one other with love and live in unity. Relationship between nations should never be allowed to degenerate to the levels of violent attacks on lives and businesses of fellow Africans,” he said.

Moon also urged Africans to promote peace but beginning from the individuals, nations and the world at large.She said: “The solutions to our divided culture begin with the quiet revolution inside each of us. Indeed, peace starts with me. Though our world and nations are engulfed in disunity, we are greater than our differences.

“Let us come together as brothers and sisters to take a step in unison towards peace by building strong and healthy families. Let us start peace together, as one family under God,” she said.


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