Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, has said no Nigerian was arrested during the evacuation of voluntary returnees following xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Mr Adama told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) through telephone that no returnee was detained on Wednesday by South African Authorities.
He said although some 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 African 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.
Mr Adama said the evacuation process was difficult, adding that the second batch flight had to be rescheduled to enable those who had issues with their documents 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 issue with immigration was resolved and we ensured they all travelled.’’
Mr Adama, however, admitted that there were obstacles in the process and that there were hitches at one point or the other, but that the mission solved every problem and everybody travelled.
The envoy explained that some of the returnees were interrogated by the immigration but the mission secured their release.
He said there was a case of a woman who wanted to travel with children that were not her own, adding that the case was treated as that of human trafficking.
“We equally resolved that too as the father of the children came to the airport for identification,’’ he said.
He said the mission was working to ensure that all seats in the expected aircraft were occupied and that the manifest would be ready before the plane comes again.
“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,’’ he said.
He said the mission had not given any time, but once it finishes, it would intimate the airline within 24 hours. (NAN)