Xenophobic Attacks: FG Demands Compensation for Nigerians, Unveils Proposal to Deploy Operatives in South Africa

Geoffrey Onyeama

By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The federal government Tuesday in Abuja demanded for compensations for its citizens who have suffered certain losses in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The government also unveiled a proposal to deploy security operatives in the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa, whose job mandate will be to work with the commission to provide security for Nigerians in the country.

Making this disclosure while answering questions from journalists in the State House, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, said the federal government had strongly protested the unwarranted attacks on its citizens to the government of South Africa.

According to him, the federal government is of the belief that such security operatives will eventually be incorporated in the South African Police with a view to assisting it in pre-empting future attacks against Nigerians.

“We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference.

“One, with regards to compensation for those who have suffered losses and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.

“We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents, deploying them initially in the Nigerian High Commission, to work closely with the South African Police Force.

“We believe that would be a very important process to address and pre-empt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.

“So you will have some certain number of Nigeria security people trying to work with the South African police force,” he said.

Onyeama dismissed any contemplation by Nigeria to embark on any revenge mission against South Africans or their businesses, saying two wrongs do not make a right.

The minister also explained that the government of South Africa was provoked by the attacks and was striving hard to put the situation under control.

“We don’t believe that two wrongs make a right. I think in terms of revenge on those kinds of attacks is not what we are looking forward to.
“The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation; that they are equally exasperated by the whole event.

“We believe that with that goodwill, we may be able to work together to put in place these mechanisms that would make a difference,” he added.

Onyeama further explained that the special envoy the president was sending to South Africa would table before the South African government the two issues bordering on compensations to Nigerians who have lost belongings in the attacks as well as the plan to deploy security operatives in the country.