147 stranded Nigerians await evacuation in South Africa

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There are reportedly 147 Nigerians stranded in South Africa, besides many others who have declared interest in returning to Nigeria.

The stranded Nigerians in South Africa comprises of  students research work, those who went for  conferences, holiday, medicals and business but for the global lockdown they are still there and are eager to go back home.

South Africa is Africa worst hit by the pandemic with over 8,895 confirmed cases and about 200 deaths.

Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr. Kabiru Bala who confirmed this, said the commission is already in talks with the South African and Ethiopian airlines.

Bala said the High Commission is also in contact with the government of South Africa on the evacuation process.

He said, “We have about 147 Nigerians stranded and others who have registered with the High Commission and consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

“We are in talks with SAA and ET airlines on cost, modalities, dates… we are also in contact with South African authorities in regard to the evacuation.”

Also, the Nigerian Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA) was full of praises for the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa for the way and manner the commission supported some Nigerians stranded in South Africa.

NICASA President Benjamin Okoli said the Nigeria High commission provided the necessary support and assistance to those in need.

He said no Nigerian is stranded on the street as the Nigerian High Commission and Consulate in South Africa was on hand to provide necessary assistance to those who are out of pocket or those facing accommodation issues.

On the general situation of Nigerians living in South Africa, Okoli there is no known Nigerian that has contracted the deadly disease in South Africa.

Hence, generally speaking he said Nigerians are safe in South Africa.

On the welfare of Nigerians, Okoli said the association had reached out to over 1,000 Nigerians who were economically affected by the lockdown.

He said the association and members of the board of trustees and other group of professionals like the medical group contributed to a dedicated account for the association which was used to provide care and support for some number of Nigerians in South Africa.

He also narrated how NICASA prevented the ejection of a Nigerian family in South Africa from their accommodation.

The family of six were to be ejected from their apartment by the owner of the house on ground that he (landlord) wanted to occupy it.

But, NICASA according to its president, Prince Benjamin Okoli resisted the move on the ground that the action of the landlord was badly timed and also against the directive of South African President who said no landlord should eject any tenant in this period of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Okoli  told our correspondent that the family according to findings was up to date with their rent and so there was no serious reason on the part of the landlord for wanting to eject them.

He said, “A certain Nigerian family was to be ejected by the landlord who said he wanted to make use of the house. The family had never defaulted at any point.

“So we told the landlord that he cannot do that at this particular time of the pandemic.

“We also told the landlord that his action contradicted the directives of President Cyril Ramaphosa that no landlord should eject any tenant at this period.

“So we have ensured that this family is not intimidated, harassed or kicked out. We are on top of the situation.”

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