The Federal Government has said the issue of further evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa does not arise again.
Nigeria had last month evacuated no fewer than 500 Nigerians from South Africa following xenophobic attacks on them and other Africans.
But on Thursday, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the violence that gave rise to the evacuation had abated. It added that Nigerians in South Africa were, however, free to return home.
However, about 600 Nigerians have registered for evacuation with the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa and are said to be eager to return home.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, told our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, that normalcy had been restored in South Africa with Nigeria signing about 32 agreements, including a 10-year visa policy with Pretoria to advance bilateral relations during the state visit by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “People can come back, but normalcy has been restored. What the Air Peace Airline did was on humanitarian grounds. The issue of evacuation does not arise anymore because there is no situation warranting evacuation.
“Yes, there is none, all of us know that. There are some Nigerians that are not doing well and if we help them to return, that is on humanitarian grounds.”
But the Consul-General, Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, Mr Godwin Adama, had told The Links News on Sunday that there might be one more evacuation flight.
The CG in a telephone interview with our correspondent stated, “We would still try to do one (evacuation flight), but it would take some time; We still have over 600 people. We would carry out the evacuation of those who really want to go back because most of the people are stranded, but we won’t take them now.
“After the bilateral meeting, whatever we are going to do, we need to do it in such a way that we don’t give any wrong impression. Some of those people are stranded, so there is a need to take them down (to Nigeria).”
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative has commended the 10-year visa agreement between South Africa and the Federal Government.
ARDI Executive Secretary, Chief Dennis Aghanya, said Buhari’s visit had both psychological, spiritual and physical benefits to both countries, noting that the agreement would further encourage collaboration of efforts by the security agencies of both countries to curb illicit flow of funds and drugs.
He said, “There is no doubt that President Buhari has initiated moves through this visit to encourage more interactions among citizens of both countries and further strengthen socio-cultural, economic and political relations.”