President Muhammadu Buhari has given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa.
The President gave this order after he received the report of the special envoy sent to South Africa to convey a Special Message to President Cyril Ramaphosa over the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.
In the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against other Africans including Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari had sent Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (DGNIA) as his Special Envoy to South Africa, to convey a Special Message to his counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to a statement by the President’s special media aide, Femi Adesina, the Special Envoy, who was in Pretoria from Thursday, 5th to Saturday, 7th September 2019 conveyed the deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.
Mr Adesina further disclosed that President Buhari stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
He stated that President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it.
The President’s media aide noted that the Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities, and to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general, against all forms of attacks including xenophobia.
“President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian Government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria,” Adesina added.
In his communique on Monday, Mr Adesina also revealed that on his part, President Ramaphosa agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing.
He added that Ramaphosa rejected on behalf of his government, such acts, which undermine not only South Africa’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
“President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country,” the statement partly read.
On his visit to South Africa, the President’s Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular.
Mr Adesina stated that the envoy and his counterpart agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.
The President’s media aide stressed that his principal has taken note of the report and instructed the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate Authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take.