Xenophobia: Oyo receives 32 returnees, gives N30,000 each


Oyo state government on Wednesday received 32 indigenes of the state who were part of the nationals recently returned back to the country following series of xenophobic attack on foreigners in South African.

The figure includes 30 adults and two minors.

This is as the returnees were given N30,000 monetary gift by the state government with a promise of conducting a profiling on them to ascertain their areas of need.

The returnees who were led by the Director of Media, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mr Abdulrahman Balogun were received by the State Deputy Governor, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, at the state government secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.

While receiving the Oyo state born indigenes, Mr Olaniyan reiterated the states commitment to ensure that the returnees find their footings on time by carrying out a proper and comprehensive profiling to confirm their particular areas of needs and ensure how to attend to them.

Announcing the monetary gift of N30,000 to each of the state’s returnee, the deputy governor advised them to be creative by identifying and tapping into the various investment and job opportunities in the state.

He also pointed to the various funding opportunities by the Bank of Industry (BOI), urging them to come up with business proposals to further their areas of specialization.

In their separate remarks, some of the returnees including, Olakojo Sotunde, Okeleye Oluwaseun, Lawal Bolatito said they are looking up to the government for startup capital and jobs, narrating their ordeals that led them to decide to return to the country unprepared.

Olakojo said, “I would like the government to assist us in any way they can. We need jobs. I am a graduate of History and International Relations from LASU. Back in South Africa, I had a registered business and was doing well until all of a sudden xenophobia started.

“I have two cars at the car lot that I wanted to sell because I had the intention to come back home no matter what. I came home two times last year but when I came, there was really nothing, so I had to go back.

“I was contemplating on staying back in South Africa or coming back to Nigeria. Lo and behold, xenophobia started last month and the whole story changed. I will like the government to assist us in any way they

can. There are some of us that need jobs. Some other people are business owners. If you can get us jobs, can set us up in businesses, we will be glad.”

Similarly, Okeleye said, “It was ups and downs for me in South Africa. I studied Agriculture and sought a country that was practised mechanized farming hence the reason I went to South Africa. We need help. I now have to start again from scratch. The federal government should interview us per person and know what we want.

“In South Africa, I see people attacked. Most of their drivers have guns. They see Nigerians as intelligent, smart and they envy us; they feel we bully then. Nigerians are everywhere in South Africa, especially in the medical sector. They suffer an inferiority complex.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Director of Media, NIDCOM, Mr Abdulrahman Balogun cautioned Nigerians keen on leaving the country that the land abroad may not be greener as envisaged.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari was scheduled to meet with South African authorities on the issue of Xenophobia, and that at least another 400 Nigerians in South Africa had expressed interest in returning to the country.

Balogun said, “As of last night, over 400 Nigerians have indicated their interest to return home. The President is concerned on the issue and would embark on eye to eye diplomacy by leading a delegation with seven governors, five ministers, special advisers to meet with his South Africa counterpart. We hope things will be normal with the meeting.

“If after the discussion, South Africa is ready to make some concession, those Nigerians may decide to stay back.

“The commission usually tells those who travel out to be a good representative of the country. As we are having this batch, we have similar issues in Asia, Saudi Arabia in which we have a sizeable number of people from this state.

“I am currently working on one calling for our attention. We usually counsel our young people that there is nothing green in those places people are going to. You are better off here. With little assistance,

you can do well rather than go somewhere and be killed, attacked and cannot move or do business freely. The younger ones should come together for us to nurture the nation. We have better opportunities

here in Nigeria.

“We have partnered with some other agencies to assist them, re-orientate, re-integrate them, and do some form of empowerment to fully integrate them into the system. And we have profiled them

according to their states and have been reaching out to states. Of 17 states, Oyo state is first to do formal re-integration for its citizen.”