The decision to airlift Nigerians from South Africa was informed by the recent uprising and attack of foreigners.
The owner of a Nigerian airline has offered to airlift Nigerians from South Africa following a spate of xenophobic attacks on migrants there, the foreign ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that Allen Onyema, the proprietor of Air Peace, had volunteered to send a plane “to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to Nigeria free of charge” on Friday.
It advised those interested in the offer to liaise with Nigeria embassy in South Africa to make the “necessary arrangement.”
Telephone calls to the embassy were not answered. Air Peace, the nation’s largest commercial carrier, which operates on local and international routes, was not immediately available for comment.
Seven people were killed and almost 300 arrested in three days of attacks on foreign-owned businesses in South Africa.
The wave of violence, which was concentrated in Johannesburg, ended after police stepped up security.
Already, the South African embassy in Lagos has been forced to temporarily shut its doors.
It joins local businesses in Nigeria, MTN and Shoprite, which have come under attack.
That’s after days of riots in South Africa targeting foreign-owned businesses.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Lunga Ngqengelele says the decision to shut down the embassy is out of concern for the safety employees of the embassy.
“We have been in communication with the Nigerian government and we have been assured of the protection of the businesses belonging to SA.”
“Nigerian police quelled the uprising from the Nigerians attacking SA business, we understand that arrests were made. We are pleased that there was no loss of life.”
Several African countries have expressed their dismay at the violence against their expatriates in South Africa.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Zambian students, dressed mostly in black and chanting ‘No Violence’, protested outside the South African High Commission in Lusaka.
Other African countries and the African Union have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action.
Citizens from across the continent voiced their anger on social media, with some threatening retaliation.