South Africa is set to deport 56 Nigerians, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The Federal Government has been notified of the planned deportation, which is coming barely two weeks after a row between the two countries.
The deportees, who have overstayed their visas, applied for asylum because of alleged political “crisis” in Nigeria. They appeared before an Asylum Panel in South Africa and their applications were rejected, it was learnt.
The South African Government checked and discovered that Nigeria is not experiencing any political problem to have warranted asylum for any of its citizens.
A source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to speak on the matter, said: “South Africa has informed us of a fresh deportation of 56 Nigerians. The affected persons will be brought to Nigeria either on Wednesday or Thursday.
“Our senior officers in the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria were made to be part of the process to ascertain that none of the deportees is a victim of any form of injustice.
“The South African Government said it is granting asylum to those from war-torn countries and Nigeria is not on the list.
“In line with our new rapprochement, we cannot force these Nigerians on South Africa. So, we are expecting the deportees soon.
“Deportation is a normal thing when immigrants are found to have either entered a country illegally or overstayed their visas. Some are usually sent back each time they violate immigration laws or indulge in fraud. That is why you see Nigeria deporting illegal aliens like Nigeriens and Chadians.”
South Africa had a fortnight ago deported 125 Nigerians from the Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg over alleged fake yellow fever vaccination cards.