The Lagos State Government on Wednesday gave N20,000 to each member of the second batch of 319 Nigerians evacuated from South Africa.
The fresh batch of returnees arrived a week after another 178 Nigerians fleeing xenophobia came back from South Africa.
The returnees arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, at about 7.21 p.m. aboard an Air Peace B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI.
The flight, which originated from the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, was received by Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema.
Also on ground was Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Diaspora.
Presenting the token on behalf of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the money was a palliative for the returnees.
Mr Jermaine Sanwo-Olu said that the returnees from Lagos State would be transferred to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), where they would be trained on skill acquisition.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa told reporters the returnees would be ‘profiled’ according to their states and local governments of origin to complement the federal government’s effort in reintegrating them.
She said apart from giving the returnees stipends to get back to their respective states, there was also a medical team on ground to provide assistance to those with medical conditions.
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa also noted that the Nigeria High Commission was working with the South African authorities to reduce the unnecessary delays which had so far characterised the evacuation exercise.
Mr Onyema said some Nigerians were stranded in South Africa for over four years and could not return home due to financial difficulties and lack of proper documentation.
He said: “What Air Peace is doing to freely evacuate Nigerians from South Africa is part of our support to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and we are doing it wholeheartedly.
“The airline is only asking the government to do what it has been doing to facilitate the smooth return of the Nigerians.
“We are not asking for any refund because we knew that the cost of evacuating the Nigerians will exceed N300 million at the end of the day. NAN