BREAKING NEWS: South Africa apologizes to Nigeria over deportation

South African President, Jacob Zuma

South Africa has tendered “unreserved apology” to Nigeria over a mass deportation of its citizens, saying officials at Johannesburg’s main airport did not properly check their health certificates, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

At a news conference in Pretoria Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ibrahim said: “We wish to humbly apologize to them, and we have.”

Two diplomats from the Nigerian High Commission accompanied Mr. Ibrahim to the news conference, but refused to comment beyond a joint statement that says the tit-for-tat deportations between the two countries in the past days should not affect their relations, the Associated Press said.

On March 2, South Africa deported 125 Nigerians who, according to airport health authorities, carried fraudulent yellow fever cards. Since then, authorities in Lagos have deported South Africans, raising similar health concerns.

Following the dispute with Nigeria, South Africa has also now agreed to vaccinate at airport, travellers without yellow cards instead of deporting them.

Mr. Ibrahim said South African airport authorities did not properly check to determine whether the cards were authentic. He said South Africa was considering reopening a health clinic at the airport to ensure such deportations are not repeated.

South Africa and Nigeria are allies, but also sometimes rivals for influence in Africa.

Nigeria Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, speaking to the National Assembly Tuesday, linked the deportations to what he called the “xenophobia” faced by Nigerian immigrants living in South Africa who fear police could arrest them without cause.

Mr. Ibrahim rejected Mr. Ashiru’s charge.

“We are not a xenophobic country,” the South African minister said Thursday.

But in 2008, South Africa saw a wave of violence against foreigners from elsewhere in Africa that left scores dead. 


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  • Georgeefrancis

    I am proud of Nigeria.

  • Georgeefrancis

    I am proudly Nigeria

  • Salome

    It is so true that our fellow Africans are treated with disrespect and almost inhumane by South Africans.

    COuld this be as a result of the fact that generally Africa suffering poverty.

    I for one had a priviledge of travelling to Nigeria several times and I must say I was treated with dignity and love. I felt safer than I would in my own country.

    Something needs to be done about the problems we encounter.

    South Africa needs to get its act together and address its problems.

  • priscilla

    Apologies, yes, but our Embassy in SA and indeed all Nigerians living in SA must be treated with dignity. There is the need to audit all SA businesses in Nigeria especially MTN and DSTV. This call is coming at a time when we strongly believe that if the 2 countries and indeed other African nationals doing businesses in Nigeria must meet up with the Nigeria Immigration standards.

  • Questingchu

    Do this top other countries and Nigeria will regain her respect

  • Questingchu

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