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Xenophobic: Buhari Orders Evacuation of Nigerians Willing to Return

…As Special Envoy Submits Report

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

After receiving a report from the Social Envoy sent to meet with South African President over attacks on Nigerians and their businesses, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Monday, directed that Nigerians willing to return home be evacuated immediately from South Africa.

President Buhari had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against other Africans including Nigerians, 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. 

The Special Envoy was in Pretoria from Thursday, 5th to Saturday, 7th September 2019  and conveyed deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.

President Buhari 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.

 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.

The Nigerian President further assured 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, Femi Adesina, states Monday that President Ramaphosa on his part, agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.

According to the presidential spokesman, 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 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.

The Presidency stated that 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.

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