Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has lauded Air Peace Airlines for the successful evacuation of the first batch of 178 Nigerians willing to return from South Africa.

Mr. Kimiebi Ebienfa of the Ministry’s Crises Monitoring and Public Communications Division made this known in a statement on Thursday following the successful evacuation mission, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

According to him, Onyeama commended the proprietor and management of Air Peace Airlines while receiving 178 Nigerians that voluntarily decided to return to Nigeria following the incessant cases of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Following the xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa, Mr. Allen Onyeama, Proprietor of the Airline on Sept. 5, volunteered to send an aircraft to evacuate Nigerians willing to return free of charge. However, 640 Nigerians have indicated their desire and had registered with the ministry to return from SouthAfrica.

He said that the Minister who was represented by Mr. Chuks Jonathan, acting Director, Southern African Affairs Division assured that the Federal Government will continue to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians in Diaspora.

“The Aircraft conveying the Nigerians arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 9.23 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs also promised that the second batch of the evacuation exercise will commence soonest after working out necessary modalities with the Nigerian Mission in South Africa. However, the Minister uses this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and patient”, he said.

“As Federal Government is engaging all relevant stakeholders towards finding permanent measures to the unfortunate xenophobic attacks on Nigerians,” Ebienfa added.