The federal government of Nigeria has assured South African returnees that it will not abandon them to their plight as all efforts are on to continue the rehabilitation and empowerment programmes.
Giving the reassurance in her office on Thursday, the Chairman/CEO of Nigerian in Diaspora Commission Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa told a South African widow returnee, Mrs. Yinka Iyoha, that the federal government will not abandon all Nigerians brought back to the country as a result of xenophobic attacks.
The widow’s plight attracted attention from Multichoice Nigeria who graciously donated a cheque of One million naira through NiDCOM to Mrs. Iyoha and her four children to start a new life back home.
Dabiri-Erewa equally announced a scholarship to one of the children of the returnee courtesy of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission.
The NIDCOM boss said that the Federal Government is kick starting an entrepreneurship programme for the returnees in collaboration with Small and Medium scale Enterprises Development Agencies (SMEDAN) and National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
She mentioned that the returnees will be trained on various skill acquisitions and certified, mentored and funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In addition, funds from N1 million to N10 million naira will be released for the programme.
She also appealed to other state governments to liaise with the returnees in their respective states and key in into the rehabilitation and reintegration schemes.
“We can only hope to work for peace and unity among Africans as the Nigerian mission had a programme in Johannesburg, South Africa entitled UNITE AFRICA, geared towards eradicating xenophobia in South Africa” She said.
While encouraging African countries to unite in love, she said that Nigerians in South Africa are working with their counterparts to ensure this, while those who commit crimes will face the penalty.
Receiving the cheque donation, an elated Iyoha showed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Airpeace, Multichoice and Nigerians for assisting her and other returnees in the speedy rehabilitation and reintegration.
“There is no place like home and I am very happy to be back home, what we experienced in South Africa we cannot describe it, it was like living in the wilderness”, she said.
Iyoha who lost her husband as far back as 2010 in South Africa and has been with the burden of raising her four children alone, complained of her business being crumbled by south African hostile trade policies.
As a businesswoman, “It was very tough for me as I lost over 20 million worth of goods due to the South African Customs seizing imported goods from Nigeria”.
It will be recalled that an anonymous Nigerian and a cancer survivor, donated her one month salary of N500,000 through NIDCOM in October to assist South Africa women and children returnees.