“Some of them claimed they were returned for irregular migration offences when the South Africa authority withdrew their voluntary work permits that it had hitherto given to African migrants, and made … work permits more difficult to get,” Abike Dabiri-Erewashe told eNCA.
“They have been arbitrarily raided … More will likely follow,” she said, adding that those individuals deported for drug offenses have been handed over to Nigerian authorities.
Last week saw the culmination of a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment in South Africa, with violent protests breaking out in Tshwane and Nigerians in their home country retaliating by attacking MTN’s head office there.
Department of home affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete responded to news of the deportation by clarifying that South Africa deports scores of illegal immigrants on a daily basis, and that this is not aimed at Nigerians specifically.
“Deportation is a 90-day process and it happens on an ongoing basis, so I won’t get into a singling out of Nigerians,” he said.