Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday asked his South African equivalent, Cyril Ramaphosa, to ensure the protection of Nigerians and other foreigners in the ‘rainbow nation.’
Concise News reports that the Nigerian leader, who departed Abuja for South Africa on Wednesday, condemned the xenophobic attacks in the country.
The three-day state visit, the first to South Africa by a Nigerian president since 2013, had been planned before the xenophobic attacks.
This news medium understands that the attacks had led to the looting of shops belonging to foreigners.
President Buhari demanded that measures be put in place to prevent a repeat of the xenophobic attacks.
“Mr President, we have condemned in strongest terms attacks against Nigerians and other African nationals living in South Africa, including the looting of their shops and businesses and burning of their properties,” Buhari said at the start of his meeting with Ramaphosa.
“We call for the strengthening and the implementation of all the necessary measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such actions.”
Responding, Ramaphosa repeatedly apologised over the attacks, as he restated his government’s “deep regret at the incidents of public violence”.
He said, “Some of the acts of violence were directed at foreign nationals and some of whom coming from your own country.
“We firmly condemn all forms of intolerance and will not hesitate to act against criminal acts and violence.”
The two leaders, Concise News learned, later went into long talks believed to be aimed at bolstering trade ties and political cooperation.
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo had last Saturday said he expected the meeting between President Buhari and Ramaphosa to address the issue of xenophobic attacks.
“The meeting that President Buhari and President Ramaphosa will have during the first week of October should smoothen the ground and the right statement and the right action coming from both sides should encourage our people to go back,” the former Nigerian leader said as he answered questions from newsmen at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
In early September, there was tension between the two countries over the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
Assets belonging to Nigerians in the country were targeted, triggering retaliatory attacks against South Africa-linked businesses in parts of Lagos, Ibadan, and the capital – Abuja.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, later summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, over the attacks, before President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to the country over the issue.
Nigerians Return From South Africa
The second batch of 314 Nigerians in South Africa returned to Nigeria on Wednesday, September 18, after the renewed xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid country.
Concise News gathered that the returnees – comprising adults, children and infants – arrived at the international airport in Lagos around 7:22 p.m. after departing Thambo International Airport, Johannesburg.
The first batch of 187 Nigerians in South Africa had earlier returned to Nigeria. The returnees – also comprising adults, children and infants – joyfully sang the Nigerian National Anthem on arrival.
The Nigerian government, with the support of Air Peace, aided the return of the Nigerians.