Air Peace is awaiting the clearance of more Nigerian returnees from South Africa to continue the airlift which it flagged off on Wednesday with the first batch of 187 arriving the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
However, it was not clear yesterday when the second flight would depart as the airline was awaiting communication from the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa.
One of the returnees, Victor Uche Nwocha from Abia state confirmed that the South African government was “crying” that Nigerians were being evacuated.
Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa confirmed that the South African government frustrated the flight “for no just reason” but assured the issue would be resolved at a ministerial level with the South African government.
She said: “The flight was delayed for no reason at all but despite all those frustrations, you could see the excitement, you could see the joy. They frustrated us deliberately. Out of 317, Air Peace was able to bring 187. But they have landed and we are glad to receive them.”
Asked when the next flight would be operated, Air Peace Chairman Mr. Allen Onyema said: “We are ready tomorrow, if the South African government agreed, I was told that they picked up some people and said they wanted to ask them how they entered into the country in the first place but I thought these people are now leaving your country, they should have been left to go home.
However, we are waiting for the Nigerian High Commission to inform us of the next time. If they tell us to leave for South Africa this night, I have enough pilots to go into this aircraft and go back to South Africa this night.
“Report reaching us from South Africa was that the South African government through their immigration officials were frustrating us and the High Commission informed us that they registered over 700 people that are willing to come.”