97 Nigerians have been deported from South Africa for committing various civil, criminal, and drug-related offences, amidst the heightened xenophobic tension between the two African countries.
The deportees consisting of 95 men and two women arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday night in a chartered aircraft with the registration number GBB710 from Johannesburg.
The Nigerians deported from South African arrived on the same day 41 Nigerian girls were being deported from Mali, for trafficking in conjunction with the Nigerian government.
The 97 deported Nigerians landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday night in a chartered aircraft with the registration number GBB710 from Johannesburg.
Sources at the airport disclosed that six of the deportees were brought back to Nigeria for drug-related offences, ten were arrested and deported for non-drug related criminal offences, while others committed immigration offences while residing in South Africa.
According to the source, those deported for drug and criminal offences were handed over to police for further prosecution while others with civil and immigration-related offences were released after their profiling by the officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the airport.
Though the South Africa government has condemned the xenophobic attacks against immigrants in the country, it has also blamed illegal immigrants from Nigeria and other countries for heightening crimes in South Africa, thus the decision to clamp down on such immigrants.
Though the Federal Government told the Senate that no Nigerian was killed in the latest xenophobic attacks in South Africa, members of both chambers of the National Assembly are outraged at the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians living in South Africa and have threatened reprisals, if the attacks continued.
Berating the Executive arm of government for not engaging the South African government seriously on the attacks, the Senate and House of Representatives resolved to send their members to engage their counterparts in South Africa.
During the Senate plenary, the lawmakers, in strong terms condemned the return of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, which it described as extra-judicial killings of Nigerians by both the South African police and South Africans.
The Senate also advised the Federal Government to reconsider Nigeria’s diplomatic ties with South Africa with a view to averting recurring xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings of Nigerians in South Africa.
The resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Rose Oko, PDP, Cross River North and titled: “Resurgence of Xenophobic Attacks and Extra-judicial Killings of Nigerians in South Africa.” It was co-sponsored by three other Senators.
In the meantime, some youths, who protested against the xenophobic attacks at the South African embassy, on Tuesday, in Lagos demanded that Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, close the South African embassy in Nigeria and declare the High Commissioner and other officials “personae non grata” until the safety of Nigerians is guaranteed in South Africa.
Similarly, the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters has also met with the Ghanaian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Willians Awinador Kanyirige, on Tuesday, over the alleged hostile business environment Nigerians are being subjected to in Ghana.