Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Concise News had reported that South Africans had on Sunday begun fresh attacks, looting and burning of businesses and properties belonging to foreigners and in the process killed three people, while another is still receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.
However, it was learned that the envoy was expected to meet with the minister by 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.
A senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kimiebi Ebenfa, confirmed the development in a message to the Punch.
It read, “I am directed to inform you that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has summoned the High Commissioner of South Africa for a meeting this morning by 11. The meeting was confirmed a few minutes ago.”
Onyeama had condemned the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, describing the perpetrators as mindless criminals.
The minister made this known on his verified Twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama after videos of the burning and looting of Nigerian businesses emerged online.
Onyeama who pledged that ‘definitive measures’ would be taken to address the situation said there was need to end the attacks.
He, however, did not say what those definite measures would be.
Onyeama had tweeted, “Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection. Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures.”
In a related development, the Nigeria High Commission in South Africa has responded to the recent attacks on foreigners including Nigerians and their businesses by South Africans.
The High Commissioner, Ambassador Kabiru Bala in a statement on Tuesday urged all Nigerian victims in South Africa to come forward to report their situation to the High Commission as a list of victims is being compiled.
Bala said with the list of the victims complied, Nigeria High Commission will then hold Diplomatic talks with the South African government.
“The High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria views with concern the ongoing loss of lives, arson, and looting of properties in some parts of Gauteng Province of South Africa.
“Some of the victims of the anarchy are Nigerians and other Africans.
“The High Commission and the Consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg are compiling the list of all the Nigerian victims of the current anarchy for engagement with the South African government and other stakeholders for succour.
“In this regard, all Nigerian victims of the current attacks are requested to come forward to report their situation to the High Commission and the Consulate.
“The two Missions will continue to be home to all Nigerians in this trying times and in the future. Since the outbreak of the attacks last week, the two Missions have remained open and continued to render normal services to Nigerians and other customers without hindrance,” the statement read in part.
The Commission also appealed to all Nigerians to remain calm and avoid any ‘precipitate action.’
The statement added that any action taken hurriedly that may jeopardise the “arduous task of engaging the South African government through diplomatic channels to bring the situation under control and to restore normalcy.”
Concise News reports that the attacks on Nigerians are part of wider xenophobic attacks on foreigners in the rainbow nation.
The attack which was second of it within a week began on Sunday morning in Jeppestown area of Johannesburg when a building was set on fire by angry mobs.
Later on Sunday evening, some group of violent locals suspected to be Zulu hostel dwellers attacked Jules street in Malvern, Johannesburg, looting and burning shops.
Similar violence had occurred on August 28 in Pretoria Business District as indigenes angered by the death of a taxi operator apparently thought to be killed by a Nigerian went on rampage.
The said driver was, however, allegedly killed by a Tanzanian which sparked the violence that resorted to looting of shops owned by Nigerians and some other foreigners in that country.
This online news medium reports that the government of South Africa had threatened a crackdown but has so far been unable to prevent acts of violence.
On August 28, President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African Counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa met on the sidelines of a Summit in Japan and both leaders agreed to meet in October.
This latest development indicates xenophobia will be top of the agenda when both leaders meet.