President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday in Pretoria that the wave of deadly violence against foreign nationals including Nigerians in South Africa last month was an embarrassment to the continent.
According to details of his speech on the Nigerian presidency’s Twitter page, President Buhari stated this at a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa.
In September, rioting and attacks on foreigners led to at least 10 deaths, dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests, triggering anger at home and abroad.
“The recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa.
“It was an embarrassment to the continent.
“As a government, we are quite disturbed by these very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their a recurrence with the South African government,” he added.
Following the attacks, Mr Buhari ordered the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians wanting to return home and around 600 people were repatriated.
Mr Buhari met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday.
Both leaders expressed regret at the violence in South Africa and the subsequent reprisals in Nigeria against South African businesses, pledging instead to deepen trade ties.
Mr Buhari called for peace at the town hall meeting.
“The authorities have expressed their apologies over the incidents and have resolved to take necessary steps to end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship.
“Let us, therefore, give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence,” he said.