The first batch of the Nigerian returnees from South Africa will be airlifted from Johannesburg to Lagos by 9a.m. today.
According to the Nigeria Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, the first batch is made up of 320 passengers.
Air Peace would commence evacuation of over 600 Nigerians who had registered to come back home following the series of attacks on foreign nationals and their businesses in South Africa.
“The first flight leaves by 0900 hours on Wednesday with about 320 passengers and the second batch will leave on Thursday all things being equal.
“We have over 600 who had indicated interest all things being equal without any hitches, the plane will take off by 0900 hrs on Wednesday.
“The manifest for the first flight is ready and we are working on the next flight,” Adama said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Monday ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
Buhari gave the instruction when he received the Report of the Special Envoy to South Africa, Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, had last week volunteered to send aircraft to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return home free of charge.
“Air Peace is willing to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts in this matter by deploying our B777 aircraft to evacuate Nigerians back home,” Onyema said.
The Chairman of the Air Peace had also stressed that the flight is free for the returnees.
Onyema said the airline decided to set the record straight following an email from a Nigerian in South Africa that unauthorised persons were illegally collecting 1,000 dollars from each Nigerian that wanted to take advantage of that flight.
He noted that the development was unfortunate, stressing that the evacuation was free because the airline was concerned about the safety of Nigerians following the attacks.
He said: “We have not designated or recruited any agent in South Africa 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 to Nigeria with Air Peace should request for a refund and report to appropriate authorities