Abia state Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has assured South African Returnees of Abia extraction that his administration is committed to ensuring their full reintegration into the society with plans to better their lot.
Speaking at Government House, Umuahia when he received the South African returnees of Abia indigens following the recent Xenophobic attack,the Governor urged them not to allow their past experiences to weigh them down.
He enjoined them to deploy the same hardwork they are known for over there to leverage on the numerous empowerment programmes by the state government and add value to their lives.
The Governor pointed out that the state has multi skill acquisition centres in the three Senatorial zones where they could be trained in various agricultural value chain programmes, shoe making,mass literacy programs as well as acquire soft loans to start businesses and make a living.
Regretting the unfortunate xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals especially Nigerians,Governor Ikpeazu wondered why South Africa could make herself a graveyard.
He recalled that Nigeria and other Africa countries assisted South African in gaining her freedom and described their action as a misplaced aggression.
The Governor who expressed optimism that the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari will bring a closure to such incidents,commended the proprietor of Airpeace, Mr. Allen Onyema for volunteering his air craft to evacuate Nigerians back to the country and lauded the quick steps taken by the Abia State Diaspora office in reaching out to the Abia returnees in time.
Presenting the returnees to Governor Ikpeazu, the Special Adviser on Diaspora Matters, Mrs Ngozi Erondu said Abia was the first state that reached out to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission adding that the returnees have been profilled.
She thanked the Governor for his gesture so far also expressed hope that he would do more for them.
Earlier in his speech, onbehalf of other returnees, Mr. Uche Nwocha while narrating their ordeal in South Africa, disclosed that the killings had persisted for years with Nigerians massacred in silence before it degenerated to the latest out burst.
He commended the efforts and opportunity provided by Mr. Allen Onyema by evacuating Nigerians in South Africa as well as the intervention of Governor Ikpeazu and prayed God to bless them saying that they are delighted by the move.