Government at every level has condemned the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said.
Onyeama, while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, described the attacks as unacceptable, adding that the Nigerian government will not accept any attacks on its citizens.
He said whatever measures need to be taken to ensure the safety of Nigerians in South Africa will be taken, noting that the federal government will address the issue once and for all this time.
Onyeama said the Federal Government has been in touch with the South African Government, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched a special envoy to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He stressed that the government has clear directives about the commitments and guarantees that are required of the South African Government.
FG Dismisses Report Of Lives Lost
Onyeama also said that so much has been circulating over social media, many of which are not factual, noting that no Nigerians died during the attacks.
“A lot of things have been circulating all over social media which has not helped matters and some of them have really distorted the situation and because of that it has impacted the government’s response.
“Number one is that the information that we have from the High Commission and the Consul General in South Africa is that no lives have been lost during this crisis,” Onyeama said.
He added that stories about Nigerians being killed and being burnt are not the case, stressing that what the government knows is that premises and shops of Nigerians have been looted and properties have been destroyed.
Nigeria Shuns World Economic Forum
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also confirmed that Nigeria will not be participating at the World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from September 4 to 6.
He revealed that the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was delegated by Buhari to attend the summit, but explained that the President later asked Osinbajo to withdraw, following the xenophobic attacks.
Buhari worried over reprisal attacks
Onyeama in his interaction with newsmen also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari is worried over the vandalism that has taken place in Nigeria in reaction to the issue.
He said, “Mr President is particularly distraught at the acts of vandalism that have taken place here in Nigeria in retaliation to what is happening in South Africa.
“He believes that we have to take the moral high ground on this matter. we are victims here and we are making that position clear to the international community and the South African Government.
“We here in Nigeria must not fall into the temptation of also resorting to the acts that we are condemning in others. Mr President has pleaded and is likely to make a statement on this addressing the Nigerian people to please desist from acts of vandalism and aggression,” Onyeama said.
He went on to stress that the acts of vandalism only harms Nigerians who own most of the business being destroyed, adding that beyond who will suffer the brunt, the acts of vandalism is morally wrong.
Onyeama assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is determined, noting that the red line has been drawn and the government will not give in.