Fri, 06 Aug 2021

Desperate Nigerians living in South Africa, including some who were forced to close their businesses following attacks on foreign nationals in Gauteng, are preparing to leave the country, lock, stock and barrel.

On Wednesday, scores of Nigerians and their children, armed with documents and their belongings, rocked up at the offices of the Consul General of Nigeria in Illovo.

All of them had the same idea - to return home where they believe they will be safe.

Their native country - among the most populated countries in the world - will welcome them with warm hands, they said.

Since the beginning of September, streets in Gauteng have been left covered in ashes after shops, buildings and vehicles were set alight by angry protesters baying for foreigners' blood.

On Wednesday, security guards at the offices of the consul general battled to cope with the number of Nigerians who wanted help.

They were all told that they would be flown back to their home country on Thursday.

Agony, grief and fear stalks shelter set up for foreign nationals in Katlehong

Emmanuel Iloegbu said he would start a new life in Nigeria.

Iloegbu arrived in South Africa in 2000 and said he ran a successful business, fixing and spraying vehicles in Jeppestown.

"Everybody, including residents of Jeppe Hostel knew me. I was fixing and spray-painting their cars. They were my customers. I was shocked when they turned their backs on me two weeks ago.

"They ordered me to vacate my shop before looting it. They pushed my cars outside my workshop and set them alight. I lost everything but I am happy that I am alive and am going back home to start a new life.

'South Africa is a good place...I am shocked'

"South Africa is a good place with many good people who love everybody, including foreigners. From what I have seen two weeks ago, I am shocked that is this the future of South Africa.

"There are many South Africans doing business, working and studying in many countries, including Nigeria, and they are not treated there the way we are being treated here.

"I foresee a civil war coming in South Africa. After chasing all foreigners in this country, South Africans will kill each other," he said.

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