President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
Buhari gave the instruction when he received the Report of the Special Envoy to South Africa, Amb Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners including Nigerians, sent the NIA Boss as his Special Envoy to South Africa
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday, said the Special Envoy was in Pretoria from Thursday, Sept.5 to Saturday, Sept 7.
He said that the Special Envoy conveyed Buhari’s special message to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Abubakar expressed the deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.
He said the president stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
“ 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,’’ he said.
He also conveyed Buhari’s assurance that Nigeria was ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities.
“Nigeria would partner with the South African government 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.
“Buhari assured that the Nigerian government would guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria,’’ it further stated.
On his part, President Ramaphosa had agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing.
He was quoted as saying that his government completely rejected such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
Ramaphosa has reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to doing everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.
Adesina said that 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 agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property,” he said.
According to the presidential aide, 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.