President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa, called for more tolerance, vigilance and heightened security in Nigeria and South Africa to ensure safety of citizens.
Responding to questions during a press conference at the Union Building, alongside his host, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the president said competition heralded by globalization, especially with ease in migration, would only get more intense for businesses.
He said authorities should be more pro-active in detecting early signals of violence between competitors, while migrants and companies should adhere to the local laws of countries.
“Police must be on alert not to allow violence to escalate,’’ he said.
He said the business world had turned out more dynamic over the years, with foreigners competing with locals in businesses that were initially considered low.
He said the panacea would only be for security agencies to show more interest in market operations, players and likely areas of tensions.
The president likened the situation of Nigerians in South Africa to Ghana where competition at low levels of the economy breeds intense competition, saying it would keep growing with population explosion.
The president told Nigerians living in various parts of the world, especially in South Africa, to adhere with the laws of the country they reside, and ensure compliance with market laws.
“Like it is said, ‘when you are in Rome behave like the Romans’. Always be law abiding,’’ he said.
In his remarks, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the attacks on foreigners in South Africa, including Nigerians, were regrettable, assuring that his government would work hard to see an end to such attacks.
He also condemned reprisal attacks in Nigeria.
He said President Buhari is the first president to embark on a state visit in South Africa since they came into power.
“We will work together to promote cohesion and best values. What happened did not reflect our values. We both condemn the attacks and the reprisal in strongest terms. We will set up mechanisms for early signals,’’ he said.
President Ramaphosa said his country would also create a more enabling environment for Nigerian businesses to thrive in South Africa, acknowledging that more South African companies operate in Nigeria, while Nigerians were mostly in Small and Medium Scale sectors in his country.
“We have large corporations operating in Nigeria while you have small and medium enterprises from Nigeria here in South Africa,” he said.
He promised to deepen the reforms in his country to open the space for more Nigerian business to “address the imbalance.”
“The rule of law must be obeyed by all citizens. Nigerians in South Africa must obey the rule of law, while South Africans in Nigeria must obey the rule of law,’’ he said.