By Desmond Ogudu
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, of Ondo State, on Friday, promised to give necessary support and provide an enabling environment for South Africa returnees of Ondo origin to start new lives.
Akeredolu, who received the returnees in his office, also presented cash gifts of N100,000 to each of the returnees for resettlement activities in their various communities.
Represented by his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, the Governor particularly condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals living in South Africa by the indigenes.
He described the attacks as unwarranted, barbaric and condemnable.
Akeredolu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his visit to South Africa to condemn the ugly incident and find a lasting solution to it.
He charged the returnees not to be discouraged by what had happened to them but to be ready to start a new life as they returned safely to Nigeria, their fatherland.
“We also have various windows of opportunities, including youth and women empowerment as well as agricultural and entrepreneurship programmes, among several others”.
“Therefore, avail yourselves with any of them to better your lives”, he said.
According to Akeredolu, the returnees should not be hostile to any foreigner around them so that African countries can be a better place for all to live in.
The Governor equally appreciated the management of Air Peace airline for conveying the returnees to the country, free of charge.
Earlier, Fola Olasehinde-Vincente, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Diaspora Affairs, commended Akeredolu for his kind gesture towards the returnees by ensuring they settled down peacefully and happily.
She enjoined the returnees to strive to reintegrate themselves into the society, urging them to eschew all forms of crimes in the State.
Responding on behalf of the returnees, Sholanke Omolara, appreciated the State Government for the support given to them.
She lamented their travails in South Africa, describing it as ‘very terrible and nasty’.