- ‘821 Nigerians ready to leave South Africa’
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Thursday called on Nigerians to give all necessary support to federal government in its bid to fix the myriad of problems facing the nation.
This was coming just as the Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, disclosed that a total of 821 Nigerians are to be evacuated home from South Africa due to the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Ahmed Bulkachua, at a meeting of the committee with Foreign Affairs Ministry top officials, made a strong call on Nigerians to rally round the government in getting Nigeria fixed for the good of all through required patriotism.
Apparently worried by the fate of the returning Nigerians vis-a-vis the prevailing challenges at home, Bulkachua said the situation on ground is fixable as it was with Ghana in the 1980s.
According to him, “If Ghana whose economy was in shambles in the 80s with over hundred of Cedis exchanging for $1 can positively turn her situation around to what it is today with 4.2 Cedis exchanging for a dollar, Nigeria can also do same if both the government and the governed can put their acts together in that respect.”
He was, however, quick to add that as it is with other nations of the world, there would be no situation where all Nigerians will remain in Nigeria.
“Not even developed or great countries of the world like the United States of America (USA), the Republic of China etc, have all their citizens domiciled at home. But what must be addressed by us is to put things in proper shape so that those, who will be travelling out, will largely be for excursion or tourism reason and not greener pasture, as it is now.”
Speaking earlier on what the Nigerian government would be tabling before its South African counterpart during the forthcoming state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to South Africa, Sulaiman said a wide range of issues would be tabled at the bi-national commission.
He explained that during the visit, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreements between the two countries would be signed on means of preventing and mitigating such attacks in the future.
“Besides that, composite wise, during the visit, required mechanisms will be put in place for the Nigerian High Commission there to have a variety of information on Nigerians resident in South Africa,” he added.
Suleiman revealed that over 800 Nigerians affected by the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa are to return to Nigeria. “As at Wednesday (September 18), about 821 Nigerians affected by the recent xenophobic attacks have either been evacuated home or indicated interest for that purpose,” he said.