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Xenophobic attacks: From South African frying pan to Nigerian fire

13 September 2019

189 Nigerians arrived in Lagos in the early hours of yesterday from Johannesburg on a free Air Peace flight, following the violent attacks against foreigners in South Africa. The evacuees were among the first to return home and they face an uncertain future in Nigeria that hasn’t changed for the better since they decided to try their luck in South Africa.

Two of the returnees spoke to Fanny Facsar, the Lagos correspondent for DW, the German public service broadcaster. One woman, who had lived in South Africa for seven years said her car was burnt in what she termed “a brutal experience” and she has returned with her child. She hoped to find a job as she was a graduate, calling on the government to provide jobs.

There is chronic unemployment in the country – just like in South Africa – and the returnees face a bleak future. This was illustrated by an accountant who works as a car mechanic in Lagos. He told DW that he is “sorry” for those coming back from South Africa because “the government has no plan for them, and no plan for us”.

Abike Dabiri, the loudmouthed boss of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission, then claimed that the government had provided the returnees with phone cards with two months worth of airtime. Needless to say that people that had left a country where they were earning a living, thanks to the efforts of a private airline, would be unimpressed by this gesture.

One of them said they just wanted electricity, water and good roads like they had in South Africa. Those basic needs and support to start a business so that people can earn a living are like a pipe dream for the majority in Nigeria.

The DW News Africa report is available below.

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