The evacuation of Nigerian citizens from South Africa will begin from Monday in response to the growing spate of xenophobic attacks on foreigners that is sweeping the country.
Over the last week, there have been murderous attacks on Africans living in South Africa as armed gangs go about attacking them in cities like Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. With South Africa's economy in a downward spiral, locals have taken their frustrations out on fellow Africans and dozens of migrants have been murdered in the streets in cold blood.
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Officially, the Nigerian government has said that none of its citizens have lost their lives yet as a result of the attacks. Earlier this week, the Nigerian House of Representatives passed a vote calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to withdraw the high commission to Pretoria in response to the crisis.
Yesterday, the Nigerian foreign ministry announced that the evacuation of its citizens in South Africa will begin on Monday, 20 April. Nigeria's high commission in Pretoria has said that Nigerians who feel endangered and do not have the fare back home to quickly make themselves available for evacuation.
A high commission spokesman said: “As from Monday 20th of April 2015, the process of evacuating Nigerians from South Africa will begin as directed by the Federal Government of Nigeria due to the ongoing xenophobic attacks on black foreign nationals in the Republic of South Africa. To that effect an evacuation register will be open at the High Commission in Pretoria for Nigerians intending to return to Nigeria but cannot afford flight tickets.”
On Thursday, Nigerian lawmakers not only asked President Jonathan to recall his envoy to Pretoria but also vowed to invoke relevant business laws to frustrate South African concerns operating in Nigeria such as retail outlets. Nigeria's foreign minister Ambassador Aminu Wali, said that the government was closely monitoring these attacks on foreigners in South Africa and would take appropriate measures if lives were at risk.