President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday arrived in Pretoria, South Africa, for a state visit and 9th meeting of the Bi-National Commission.
The president’s plane arrived in the South African Air force Base, Waterkloof, at 9.10 p.m., and he was received by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, and Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
The Bi-National Commission meeting was elevated to the level of presidents’ participation, following the strategic position of the two economies in Africa and need for stronger relations, Garba Shehu, Mr Buhari’s spokesperson said.
President Buhari and his host, President Cyril Ramophosa, will co-chair the meeting on Thursday.
Before the meeting, which will be held at the Union Building, both presidents will discuss issues of mutual interests relating to the welfare of citizens and expanding economic and cultural ties.
Mr Shehu said the visit will enable “harmonious relations between the two largest economies in Africa, and open up more frontiers of opportunities for prosperity by encouraging more exchange and investments, especially for Nigerians”.
He said 32 agreements and Memoranda Of Understanding (MoU) had been signed at the Bi-National Commission, which will be mutually beneficial to both nations, adding that the meeting will provide an opportunity to review progress.
“President Buhari is on a state visit to South Africa. While in South Africa, the two leaders will review a number of issues in our Bi-National Commission, including issues that affect citizens,’’ he said.
President Buhari will hold an interactive meeting with Nigerians in South Africa before returning to Abuja.
Weeks after turmoil
The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in the country, the evacuation of hundreds of them and the exchange of visits by Special Envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.
The Nigerian government also called for compensation for Nigerians whose businesses were destroyed in the attacks.
The government, however, cautioned its citizens against reprisals after some South African-linked businesses were attacked in Lagos and other cities.
The South African government has also condemned the attacks.
Mr Ramaphosa admitted that 10 people were killed in the latest round of violence. The victims include two non-South Africans, he said.
The Nigerian government had earlier said none of its citizens was killed in the attacks although many businesses owned by Nigerians were destroyed.