The government of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, has cautioned Nigerians against attacking South African companies operating in the country, Concise News reports.
Speaking on behalf of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said targeting South African companies in Nigeria for attack was, for Nigerians, a classic case of “cutting off your nose to spite your face”.
He was reacting to reports that some Nigerians, angered by the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, have started attacking South African businesses in the west African country.
The minister said it made no sense because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.
But Mohammed gave assurance that the federal government was already taking decisive measures to put an end to the persistent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched a Special Envoy to convey to his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation,” his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, quoted him as saying.
“Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, acting on the instruction of Mr President, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and secure assurance of the safety of their lives and property.”
Mob Burns Down MTN Office In Ibadan
An office of telecommunications company MTN has been set on fire in the Bodija area of Ibadan, Oyo state capital, as response to xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Concise News understands that the office had earlier been shut over widespread attacks on South African companies in the country.
Protesters had attempted to vandalise the office during the day but security operatives resisted the attack.
However, some individuals reportedly regrouped at night and set the office on fire.
MTN condemns attack on Nigerians, others in SA
Ferdi Moolman, the Chief Executive Officer of telecommunications powerhouse, MTN, Nigeria, has said that the firm stood against all forms of oppression and injustice.
“MTN Nigeria strongly condemns hate, prejudice and xenophobia and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence,” he said in a statement.
“We seek to connect people, bring people together and provide a platform for everyone’s voice to be heard.
“We are against all forms of bigotry and discrimination; they should have no place in society.
“Everyone has the right to a world where their rights and freedoms are respected – the right to live and earn a living, freely, safely and protected by the law.”
What Buhari said
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed “deep concern” over the attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa
A statement by Buhari’s media aide Femi Adesina says Buhari has sent special envoy to his South African counterpart.
“The Special Envoy is expected to arrive in Pretoria latest Thursday, September 5, 2019,” he said.
Minister Onyeama reveals what Nigeria will do
Meanwhile, Mohammed’s colleague in the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that the Federal Government is looking into possibility of sending some security agents to South Africa to safeguard lives and property of Nigerians.
Onyeama made this known when he fielded questions from newsmen after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
The minister explained that the planned deployment of the security agents was part of security proposal aimed at checking the unabated attacks on Nigerians South of Africa.
It was learned that the Nigerian security agents, if deployed, are to work with their South African counterparts.
“We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference.
“One with regard to compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future,” he said.
“We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents deploying them initially in the Nigerian High commission to work closely with the South African police force.
“We believe that would be a very important process to address and pre-empt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.
“So you will have some certain number of Nigeria security people trying to work with the South African police force.”