Having appealed to Nigerians not to create havoc over the xenophobic attacks that occurred during the weekend in Johannesburg South Africa, which affected a lot of Nigerians in the country, the Federal Government yesterday (September 3) demanded reimbursement from the South African government.
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, having condemned the xenophobic attack in Johannesburg said: “It is very sad and very unfortunate that the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians living in South Africa are once again being destroyed with such wantonness and with such carelessness and recklessness.”
Osinbajo noted that it was unfortunate because Nigeria and Nigerians invested a great deal in the destruction and the pulling down of apartheid. Besides, these acts of bigotry are entirely contrary to the very ideals that all the great South African leaders including the present president fought for, and for which many gave their lives.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari has already spoken about the development, adding that the Federal Government is very concerned and intend to take this up with the authorities in South Africa, to ensure that this sort of thing does not repeat itself.
Reacting to Nigerians attacking South African businesses in Nigeria, an incident which occurred yesterday, September 3, the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed described it as a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.
Having noted that the majority of established South African companies in Nigeria have mainly Nigerians working there, Mohammed advised Nigerian to cease the destruction of the companies because Nigerian workers will bear the brunt of it if such companies are forced to shut down for fear of reprisals.
Currently, armed policemen and other security arms have manned themselves across Shoprite malls in Lagos to prevent a total breakdown of order.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, speaking at the meeting with South Africa’s commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, disclosed that solid proposals have been sent to the South African government for immediate response.
Also at the meeting, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, disclosed that a list of the Nigerians affected by the attack was being compiled by the consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg for engagement with the South African authority and other stakeholders.
On behalf of Nigeria, Onyeama urged that South Africa implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreed upon by both countries last year. According to him, the MOU contained frameworks and mechanisms for containing the problem.
“The MoU highlighted the need for early warning system mechanisms, regular meetings between high-level members of the South African government and the Nigerian High Commission.“It also seeks regular meetings with the Consular General and the Nigerian Union in South Africa, informing each other of developments, anticipating events and essentially, being prepared to preempt attacks.”
“The Nigerian government feels that very definitive measures have to be taken to stop once and for all, these acts of aggression and criminality against Nigerians in South Africa. I invited the South African Head of Mission and we had very lengthy discussions, and the South African government has issued a statement confirming that arrests have been made.”
In his response, Moroe stated: “Our government condemns, by all means, any act of violence against any individual. The constitution of South Africa says that South Africa belongs to all residents regardless of race, creed or gender.
“This new phenomenon suggests that there are criminal elements within society that seek to create retrogression in the advancement that we have made between South Africa and Nigeria”