President Muhammadu Buhari has received report of the Special Envoy to South Africa and ordered evacuation of Nigerians willing to return to the country.
The president had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners sent the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar as Special Envoy to convey a special message to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
The Special Envoy, who was in Pretoria from Thursday, September 5 to Saturday, September 7, 2019 conveyed the concern of the president and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property and business interests in South Africa.
The special envoy also stressed the need for South African government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of African nations.
The special envoy told the South African president 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 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.
He also conveyed the president’s assurance that the Nigerian government would guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing, and assured that his government completely rejects such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
The statement said the South African leader also reaffirmed his stand against criminality, and assured that he is committed to doing everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.
The Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular.
They also agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.
Adesina said President Buhari has taken note of the report and instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate authorities on the concrete measure the South African government is expected to take.
He said the president has also given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home.