The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, has described the recall of Nigeria’s High Commissioner as an “unfortunate and regrettable” diplomatic step.
In a statement, Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, said the South African government was shocked that the Nigerian government would resort “to such an extraordinary diplomatic step to express outrage at actions or behaviour of another government”.
“We are not sure which actions or behaviour of the South African Government the Nigerian Government is protesting,” Mr. Monyela said.
“It is only Nigeria that has taken this unfortunate and regrettable step. If this action is based on the incidents of attacks on foreign nationals in some parts of our country, it would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode for whatever agenda.”
The. South African authority said despite the recall, the country remained committed to a strong bond of friendship and bilateral relations with Nigeria despite the death of 84 South Africans at a collapsed guest house of Synagogue Church of All Nations on September 12, 2014.
The country also took a jab at the outgoing administration of President Godluck Jonathan saying it would raise its concerns through diplomatic channels with the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration and referencing the failure of the current administration to rescue the kidnapped chibok girls and also end Boko Haram insurgency.
“We shall also continue to support and not blame the Nigerian Government as it battles to deal with Boko Haram that continues to kill many innocent civilians,” the statement said. “We hope that the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram will someday be reunited with their families.”
South Africa and Nigeria have had a tense relationship since the former seized millions of dollars in cash illegally brought into its territory by Nigerian authorities.