South African Authorities Delay Evacuation of 320 Nigerians Today, Denies Airline Landing Permit

South African Authorities have again delayed the arrival of about 320 Nigerians are expected in the country Tuesday.

Domestic carrier, Air Peace had stationed its aircraft to evacuate the second batch of Nigerians from South Africa Tuesday.

The plan was for the airline to arrive Lagos from OR Tambo International Airport by 7:00 pm Tuesday.

However, the schedule was distorted because South African government is yet to grant the airline landing permit as at the time of filing this report.

Confirming the development, the Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema told LEADERSHIP that  “We did not take off by 1:00am as scheduled because South African authorities are yet to give us landing permit. We are hopeful that they will give us the permit. Our crew waited till 3:00 am but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel. Once we get the permit we will set off to South Africa. We don’t want to speculate but we are hopeful they will give the permit,” Onyema said.

Earlier, Onyema had disclosed that out of over 600 Nigerians that are willing to come, 360 of them have been cleared for the evacuation and that the airline would airlift 320 in the second batch, which is the capacity of the aircraft, Boeing 777 that would be deployed for the flight.

However, the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa had also said that it has been collaborating with Immigration to clear all Nigerians who wish to return to their country to be able to do so.

Meanwhile, returnees were last week evacuated after series of similar delays.

The aircraft which departed the OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa, on the 10th September, 2019, after an eight-hour delay, had on board, 188 Nigerians.

The evacuation of the Nigerians follows an order by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 9, 2019, to evacuate Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa, after several xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, including Nigerians.

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