Yet another returnee, an indigene of Anambra State who gave his name as Uche Nwabu, said he had to hide for many days in Pretoria when Zulu militants launched attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners.
He accused the South African police and security agencies of conniving with the irate militants to unleash terror on Nigerians.
He said: “On one of the days, I was returning from work where I served as a tiller. We heard that South African militants were attacking Nigerians. We alerted the South African police that their people were carrying out violent attacks on Nigerians. They ignored us and looked the other way. We had to run for dear lives.
“As I speak to you, a lot of Nigerians are afraid to leave their homes in Pretoria for Johannesburg for fear of attack. Many of our people have been killed and are unaccounted for. But this madness must stop. Our government must stand up to take serious action.
“My brother, if the situation in Nigeria were better, most of us would not have gone to South Africa to risk our lives. If government could provide uninterrupted power supply, create a friendlier business environment, most of us will prefer to stay here and salvage our country.”
He, however, wondered why government had not severed diplomatic ties with South Africa, considering the “evil” their people have done to Nigerians.
He said: “Government should go ahead and cut the flight frequencies of South African Airways and other businesses in Nigeria. That way, their government would call their people to order. ”
Narrating his unsavoury experience, another returnee who identified himself as Roland Chibuzo from Abia State, said some Nigerians were reluctant to return home in spite of the gestur
e from government because of the investments they have in South Africa.
He said: “I can tell you for free that many of our people are reluctant to come back to Nigeria because they have invested heavily in South Africa. Some or people have houses, hotels and other investments, and they will not like to leave such behind. If they return home, what will they be doing here? Where would they start from? It is a serious dilemma.”
Speaking about their ordeal, one of the returnees, who hails from Osun State and identified himself simply as Saheed, lamented how he was sacked from job by South Africans as well as other inhuman treatments meted out on him.
Another returnee, Victor Uwas, an indigene of Delta State, said: “My brother, the situation was terrible. We were all scared because they were going from home to home looking for Nigerians to kill and maim.
“Apartheid is still continuing in South Africa with their wicked policy of segregation. This time, it is not about segregation between the white and the black but segregation between South Africans and the nationals of other African countries. It is about the oppression of other Africans.
“The reason they are attacking Nigerians is that South African youths are lazy. They blame Nigerians for their economic problems, which is very wrong. That why the Nigerian government must cut diplomatic ties with South Africa.
“The whole world is keeping quiet because the evil of xenophobia is black people against black people. If it was against while people, America and Europe would have said something to condemn the evil act.”
He, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to say something to send a strong signal to his South African counterpart that the Nigerian government would take every step to protect her people.”
Another returnee from Abia State identified as Onuoha Chizoba said although it was painful, he was happy to return home.
He said: “I would like to advise Nigerians still staying back in South Africa to return home, because from the plans we learnt that those South African have, they will carry out more attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians.”
On his part, an Osun indigene who gave him name as Aliu Saheed said many Nigerians were refusing to come home because of their investment in South Africa.
He said: “Many people do not want to return home because of the cars and other property and families they have in South Africa. How do you expect such people to come to Nigeria like that without any compensation?
“We who decided to return home have lost everything; that is why we are here. I worked in the protocol department of a South African company for six months. I have been in the country since 2015. In the company where I worked at the airport, they refused to pay my salary.
“I was attending one of their schools, but I was pushed out because I am a foreigner.”
A female returnee, who gave her name as Temide Olakojo, from Oyo State, said: “I registered my company in South Africa. I was selling beauty products with valid papers. I decided to return home because of the massive killings and looting of property of Nigerians by South Africans.”
Another female returnee said she was lucky to have escaped because the car she rode in was stopped and she was asked by the South Africans to introduce herself. She spoke their language,
And they spared her life. She said after the narrow escape, she resolved that it was time to return home.
She said: “I have lived in South Africa since 2012. I had a permit, but based on the bad experience, the search for greener pastures has turned sour.”
Speaking on the gesture by Air Peace to evacuate stranded Nigerians in the xenophobic attacks, the Chairman of the airline, Allen Onyema, said: “We carried out the evacuation free of charge. It is for our people. We decided to do it because we want to show that it is not all about money; that nobody can go into his grave with his bank account or a fat purse, but that you can go to the grave with the legacies you leave behind.