The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said the latest fracas in South Africa, in which two Nigerians were involved, was not a xenophobic attack.
The ministry in a statement by its spokesperson, Clement Aduku, in Abuja, said that there was no reported loss of live during the incident.
It expressed concern that the incident came barely few days when both Nigerian and South African Governments successfully proffered solution to xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa.
It said that contrary to media reports, the latest incident was a scuffle that took place on March 14, 2017 in a motor park in Polokwane in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
According to the statement, during the scuffle, two Nigerians were injured, one of who has already been discharged from the hospital and the other receiving treatment.
“The Ministry has received no report of casualty or death of any Nigerian in this latest altercation though some properties were reportedly destroyed in the ensuing escalation.
“From all indications, the recent incident does not constitute xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa,” the ministry said.
It assured that Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner in South Africa, Martin Cobham, was working in close partnership with the Consul-General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, to resolve the issues.
It said that the two envoys were in liaison with the leadership of the Nigerian community and relevant officials of the South African Government to ensure that the situation did not escalate.
“Meanwhile, the ministry calls on the South African authorities to continue to take firm measures to maintain law and order, including the security of lives and property in the country.
“They should ensure that Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa continue to go about their normal businesses without let or hindrance,” the spokesperson said.
The Nigeria Union in South Africa had said on Tuesday that five Nigerians were attacked in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.
Collin Mgbo, Secretary of the Union in the Province, told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone from Polokwane that three of the five Nigerians attacked were in critical condition in the hospital.
“I received a call that a Nigerian was attacked at Ivy Park in Polokwane on March 15. I got to the scene and saw that the Nigerian was almost dead, his house was looted and burnt”, he said.
Mr. Mgbo said another Nigerian was also attacked in the same neighbourhood same day and that while he got to the scene, the mob left the wounded man and descended on him.
“They left the wounded Nigerian and faced me. They destroyed my car and I managed to escape and ran to a police station”, he said.
The secretary added that three Nigerians, including the owner of a mechanic’s garage, were attacked at Moledji, near Polokwane.
“Their shops and houses were looted, vandalised and destroyed. The local chapter of the union has reported these attacks to the South African police, Nigerian mission and national secretariat of our union.
“Our national secretariat is on top of the situation. As we speak, three Nigerians in the hospital are in critical condition and I do not know if they will survive because of the severity of the attack”, he said.
Mr. Mgbo urged the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to ensure the safety of Nigerians in their country.