Xenophobic Attacks Disconcerting, South African President Tells Buhari’s Special Envoy

Cyril Ramaphosa
  •  Pledges to protect rights of Nigerians, other Africans
  •  Buhari directs foreign minister on next steps

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the violence against Nigerians and other foreigners “was most disconcerting and embarrassing.”

President Ramaphosa said this when he received President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Envoy, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, who was in that country from September 5 to 7, to convey Buhari’s deep concern on the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians.

A statement Monday by Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr. Femi Adesina, on the submission of the report of the special envoy to Buhari at the Presidential Villa, said President Ramaphosa maintained 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 also noted that 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.

In the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against other Africans including Nigerians, President Buhari had sent Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, DG, NIA as his Special Envoy to South Africa, to convey a special message to President Ramaphosa.

The special envoy, who arrived Pretoria last Thursday, conveyed Buhari and Nigerians’ deep concern 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.

“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 statement said.

The statement said the special envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that “the Nigerian government 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, 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.”

It added that President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.

According to the statement, the special envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular.

It said the two officials also agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.

“President Buhari has taken note of the report and instructed the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate Authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take.

“President Buhari has also given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home,” the statement said.