South African Government on Monday formally apologised to Nigerians and the Nigerian Government over recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals including Nigerians in that country.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to Nigeria, Jeff Radebe, conveyed the apology when he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday.
Addressing State House correspondents after the closed door meeting with the Nigerian leader, Mr Radebe said Mr Ramaphosa had already directed the law enforcement agencies to apprehend all those involved in the attacks.
Mr Radebe, who is South Africa’s Minister of Energy, said over 50 suspects had so far been apprehended in connection with the xenophobic violence which erupted in some parts of South Africa.
“We met a short while ago with President Muhammadu Buhari to convey our President Ramaphosa’s sincerest apologies about the incidents that have recently transpired in South Africa.
“Those incidents do not represent what we stand for as constitutional democracy in South Africa and the President has apologized for these incidents and he has also instructed law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned so that all those involved must be brought to book so that the rule of laws must prevail in South Africa,’’ he said.
Mr Ramaphosa, according to the envoy, said Nigeria and South Africa must continue to play a critical role in rebuilding of Africa to attain the Agenda 2063.
Mr Buhari had in the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against foreigners including Nigerians, sent the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Abubakar, as his Special Envoy to South Africa.
The president, who received the Report of the NIA boss on September 9, ordered for the immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals.
NAN reports that the Management of Air Peace in collaboration with the Federal Government had on Sept. 11 evacuated 187 Nigerians from South Africa while another set of 320 Nigerians would be evacuated from that country on Tuesday.
Mr Ramaphosa was on Saturday during the funeral of the former Zimbabwean leader, Robert Mugabe, reported to have apologised for the attacks on foreign nationals in his country.