HOUSTON Newsof the surrender and arrest of day care operator Jessica Tata quickly swept through the Nigerian community in Houston this week.

We prayed that, at the end of the day, things would be done to produce a meaningful healing among the affected families, said Felix Awotula, a pastor at The Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Awotula said he and others in the community prayed for Tata and the children killed in the fire.

We gathered together to express our sympathy and condolences to the family, he said. We visited them. We prayed that there would be a meaningful closure.

Beyond the prayers, there was worldwide attention on Tata after she fled the United States for Nigeria.

Houston-based journalist and USAfrica publisher Chido Nwangwu was the first to report Tata was in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Nigerians are especially delighted that she is living up to some sense of responsibility by coming [and] stepping forward to answer to the charges regarding the deaths of little babies, Nwangwu said.

Some Nigerians in Houston say the fire raised suspicions about them.

When someone does something bad, the whole community is now going to get the backlash for that, said Francisa Nkadi, a Houston resident.

Nkadi said she hoped Tata s return to Houston changed recent perceptions.

We, the Nigerian-Americans, we are concerned to let the world know that, Hey, we are good people. We care for people. We are concerned. We are not animals. We are human beings. We have feelings, she said.

More than 100,000 Nigerians live in Houston.

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