Xenophobic Attacks: Buhari to visit South Africa next month

President Muhammadu Buhari will swear in new ministers on August 21
President Muhammadu Buhari will swear in new ministers on August 21

Plans have commenced for President Muhammadu Buhari to travel to South Africa next month. The trip is tied to the raging attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in Johannesburg and other South African cities, the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement said Nigeria would not condone attacks on its citizens by South Africans, describing the violence as an ‘anarchy’ and calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government to act.

Kabiru Bala, the Nigerian high commissioner in South Africa, also said Nigerians should be confident of support from their country’s embassy and consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg, respectively.

“All Nigerian victims of the current attacks are requested to come forward to report their situation to the high commission and the consulate,” Mr Bala said. “The two missions will continue to be home to all Nigerians in this trying times and in the future.”

The top Nigerian diplomat said Nigerian citizens will continue to receive support from their country’s representatives through the crisis.

The statement comes as Nigeria foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, summoned the South African high commissioner in Abuja for talks about the latest targeting of Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

Several properties and businesses, including those of Nigerians, have been targeted in the latest attacks, which South African authorities said they were striving to contain.

During a meeting in Tokyo last week, both Nigerian and South African presidents expressed commitments to resolving the crisis, after officials expressed both countries ‘brotherly roots’.

Nigerians on social media have been growing increasingly impatient about Mr Buhari’s response to the crisis, with many urging him to take a more hardline approach and send a strong warning that his government would not tolerate wanton attacks on Nigerians anywhere.

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, also condemned the attacks.

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“As a party, we are deeply saddened by these unwarranted attacks. Nigeria deserves better from South Africa. It is too early for South Africans to forget their country’s history.

“Many of the key players in the struggle against apartheid are still alive and active in the country’s national affairs. W, therefore,e cannot understand why there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on their part,” the ruling party said in a statement by its spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Oniliu who made reference to Nigeria’s role in ending apartheid in South Africa.

The ruling party called on its counterpart in South Africa to step in to end the violence.

“We call on the South African ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) to urgently step in. This is completely at variance with what ANC stood for. The ANC government can no longer pretend about this obvious contradiction,” Mr Issa-Onilu wrote.

“The violence being meted to Nigerians under ANC calls to question the very essence of the struggle against apartheid in which Nigeria was a frontline ally of South Africa. How can those who supported you and made huge sacrifices for your freedom become fair games to be murdered in cold blood?

“Perhaps there is a disconnect between the younger and older generations of South Africa. The older generation cannot sit back while the uninformed youths and some South African public officials in their quest for inordinate populism destroy what we collectively achieved over several decades of sacrifice and brotherliness.”

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