Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has enjoined South Africa returnees of Abia extraction to leverage on the numerous empowerment programmes in Abia State to improve their lives.

Governor Ikpeazu was speaking in Government House, Umuahia while receiving the Abia indigenes who just returned from South Africa following the recent Xenophobic attack that took place in that country.

He informed that the Abia has multi skill acquisition centres in the three Senatorial zones of the State, where they could be trained as well as various agricultural value chain programmes, shoe making and others that they could engage themselves in to make a living.

According to a release signed by the chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu regretted the unfortunate incident where a country like South Africa, which Nigeria and other sister Africa countries assisted greatly in gaining her freedom could make herself a grave yard for other the same Africans and described the action as a misplaced aggression.

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The State chief executive 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 and profiling them accordingly.

Gov. Ikpeazu Governor Ikpeazu, who charged them to deploy the same hard work they are known for over there, assured that his administration is committed to ensuring reintegration and better lives for the returnees, urging them not to allow their past experiences to weigh them down.

Assuring them of the support of his administration towards assisting them find their feet again, Ikpeazu told them that they can survive well here it they commit themselves since the Abia GDP is higher than the national average. According to Ikpeazu, “We are happy that you came back alive.

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We prefer to spend money to help you find your feet again to spending such funds on your funerals”. Presenting the returnees to Governor, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Diaspora Matters, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu sought further assistance of the Governor to the returnees, especially in their reintegration. She said that the returnees have been profiled, informing that, while some of them are skillful in various areas, others are traders. Dr. Erondu-Ogbonna, who thanked the Governor for his gesture so far also expressed hope that he would do more for them.

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According to her, Abia was the first state to make contact with the National Diaspora Commission in respect of Abians involved in the South African attacks.

Earlier in his speech, one of the returnees, Mr. Uche Nwocha narrated their ordeal in South Africa, disclosing that the killings have been there for years before it degenrated to the latest outburst.

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He said they lost all but thanked God for the intervention of Mr. President, the State Governor and Mr. Allen Onyema, the owner of Air Peace.  He appreciated the Governor for his quick intervention and said that they are delighted over his gesture to them and prayed god to bless him.


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