By Lawani Mikairu
Air Peace airline free airlifting of Nigerians stranded in South Africa as a result of the xenophobic attack currently going on could not start as scheduled Friday, because of lack of proper documentation. Vanguard investigation revealed that some of the affected Nigerians in South Africa do not have travel documents and their passports have since expired.
An official source who pleaded anonymity said: “The Air Peace flight to South Africa will take off from Lagos and land in Lagos. The take-off could now be Monday or Tuesday. This is because the Nigerians in South Africa have to take travel certificate because many of them don’t have travel document and their passports had since expired”.
“Air Peace has prepared its Aircraft, Boeing 777 for the flight since Tuesday but the Nigerian High Commission needed time to register the Nigerians billed to travel. They are already doing that in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“I wish to authoritatively say that there is tacit and even open support of South Africa authorities to the killing of Nigerians and other Africans so those Nigerians that don’t have legal documents to continue to stay in South Africa are willing to return to their motherland”, the official said.
Recall that following the acceptance of the offer by Air Peace airline to airlift free Nigerians stranded in South Africa as a result of the xenophobic attack, some scammers in South Africa are attempting to swindle Nigerians who want to return home.
Reacting to the development on Thursday, the airline warned the affected Nigerians not to fall prey to the scammers as the airlift back to Nigeria is free.
It also said the warning is a reaction to a disturbing report that unauthorised people were illegally collecting $1000 from each Nigerian that wanted to take advantage of that flight.
According to the CEO of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema, “A Nigerian living in South Africa sent mail to the airline requesting to confirm whether the flight is free because some people were already collecting money for the flight.
“Part of the mail sent by a Nigerian resident in South Africa, Fred Okeke read, “We heard that you are donating the flight for free evacuation from South Africa to Nigeria, but it is very unfortunate to hear that they are asking the affected victims to pay the sum of $1000 as registration to be eligible to benefit from the fight. So I want to bring it to your notice.”
Onyema further said; “We are offering a free trip to Nigerians in South Africa to return home after going through the traumatic experience of the attacks. Air Peace has said this is free and we are doing it in solidarity with the federal government.
“We have not designated or recruited any agent in South African to collect money on behalf of Air Peace. So nobody should pay money to anyone or group of persons posing as Air Peace agent or staff. Any Nigerian who has paid money for repatriation back to Nigeria with Air Peace should request for a refund and report to appropriate authorities., he added.”