President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Monday ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians who had indicated interest to leave South Africa after receiving report from the Special Envoy deployed to the country.
Earlier on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South West Zone, Mr Ibrahim Farinloye, had confirmed to NAN in Lagos, that the first batch of returnees will arrive Nigeria on Wednesday by 2:00 p.m.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo said government now does not have exact figures of Zimbabweans in South Africa and will be concentrating efforts on the 171 who have come forward.
Ten people, including two foreigners, were killed in the city last week when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses.
"Government continues to monitor the situation with a view to escalating the evacuation exercise should the situation deteriorate".More news: Trump administration considers flavored e-cig ban
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And while the root causes of the latest attacks are unclear, analysts suggest high unemployment and grinding poverty are fueling criminality.
In total, 640 Nigerians living in South Africa had registered at Nigerian missions to take the flights offered by the airline last week after bands of South Africans launched violent attacks against foreign-owned shops and stalls, looting and burning the small businesses and attacking some of the shopkeepers.
Hundreds of foreigners are being hounded out of mainly Johannesburg's highly populated Hillbrow area by locals who accuse them of stealing their jobs and straining service provision in Southern Africa's strongest economy.
He was referring to an outcry from foreign governments and investors and threats to attack South Africans in other countries. Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh and Ethiopia topped the list of countries where people applied for asylum or refugee status in 2018.
More than 600 Nigerians are expected to return from South Africa this week, the Nigerian government has said. Nigerian time but were delayed by South African immigration for 15 hours because of documentation. All responses will be confidential.