President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians willing to return to Nigeria from South Africa following the report of his envoy on xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
Buhari gave the instruction Monday when he received the report of the Special Envoy to South Africa, Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari had in the wake of the 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, stated that the envoy was in Pretoria three days, September 5 to September 7.
The Special Envoy, who had conveyed Buhari’s message to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, noted that “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.”
Abubakar expressed the deep concern of Buhari and Nigerians about the intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property and 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.
He also conveyed Buhari’s assurance that Nigeria was willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities.
He said: “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.”
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN), the South African President 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 reaffirmed his stand against criminality and said he was committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreigners in the country.
According to the presidential aide, the Special Envoy in his report also interfaced with his South African counterpart, and “the agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.”