The Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Eruwa, has said that attempts by the Nigerian government to repatriate its citizens from Tunisia are not yielding positive results as many Nigerians in the North African country are not willing to return despite raging racist attacks on blacks in the country. 

Giving an update on moves to repatriate Nigerians from the country, Dabiri-Erewa said only a few Nigerians have indicated their interest in returning while the majority said they do not want to return. She said:

  • Here is an update on the situation in Tunisia, where blacks have been victims of racial attacks. Our Ambassador is in consultation with the Nigerian Community, on a decision on evacuation. Those that have agreed to return to Nigeria are very few and the mission is working with the IOM to arrange tickets for them.  
  • “Many others want to wait it out, praying it will soon pass, following the intervention of the AU and the African Group of Ambassadors. 
  • Though we don’t really have a large community of Nigerians in Tunisia as many of them are those rescued from the Mediterranean after a failed attempt to cross from Libya, the mission will update if they do request to return.” 

The back story: In the past week, governments in Sub-Saharan countries have launched campaigns to repatriate hundreds of nationals who flocked to their embassies for help. Hundreds of West African migrants from Guinea, Mali, and Ivory Coast have already left to avoid violent attacks against them by mobs.  

The attacks followed a speech on February 21 by the Tunisian President Kais Saied who appealed to officials nationwide to take “urgent measures” to tackle irregular migration. In his speech, he claimed that the enemies of the country wanted “to change Tunisia’s demographic makeup”. 

  • He also accused sub-Saharan migrants of being behind most of the crimes committed in the North African country. 
  • The Tunisian president’s remarks fueled a spate of sackings, evictions, and physical attacks against the black migrant community in Tunisia. 
  • The African Union expressed “deep shock and concern at the form and substance” of Saied’s racist remarks.