Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, has dismissed rumours that Nigerians were arrested by the South African authorities while trying to leave the country.
Adama who stated that no Nigerian was arrested during the evacuation of those who voluntarily wish to leave South Africa following xenophobic attacks on them.
Recall that reports had emerged on Wednesday that the evacuation of Nigerians who have completed processes for the first batch of airlift from that country was being frustrated by the South African authorities.
But reacting, Adama in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that no returnee was detained or refused to board a flight on Wednesday by South African Authorities.
He stated that although some Nigerians had immigration problems, they were quickly fixed.
The consul general added that what happened was that many of the returnees missed the flights because of their uncoordinated attitudes.
He said the delay in the evacuation process was caused by misplacement of travel documents as required by South Africa immigration laws.
“Some will still tell you that they put their documents inside bags that had been checked into the plane; some even said that they had theirs stolen and all that.
“Then others have issues of expired passports,’’ he said.
According to Adama, the evacuation process was stressful, adding that they had to reschedule the second batch flight to enable people having issues with their documents to resolve it.
“We did not transport anybody on Thursday.
“We are waiting to prepare properly because we lost some spaces in the aircraft on Wednesday due to the attitudes of some of our people.
“If you give instructions, they will not follow; calling them, they will not pick; even when they hear their names, they will not respond.
“So, because of documentation, a lot of people missed the flight but nobody was detained.
“Everybody that had an issue with immigration was resolved and we ensured they all travelled.’’
Adama admitted however that they encountered some obstacles in the process, explaining that they had hitches at one point or the other, but that the problems were solved by the mission and everybody traveled.
He stated that there was a case of a woman, who was about travelling with kids that weren’t hers.
“We equally resolved that too as the father of the children came to the airport for identification.
“We want to ensure that we have more than enough passengers as we do not want more seats to be empty.
“We are liaising with the South African authorities too; we are putting up a joint meeting with the host immigration service and other protocols.
“We are all on the same page before the next exercise.
“The next batch of passengers will not be Friday because we are not prepared for that but we want to finalise and send them the manifest.’’