The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, gave approval for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians in South Africa who are willing to return to Nigeria following the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country.
He also directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to further engage the South African authorities on “appropriate measures” the latter will take to end the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
The President gave the directive upon receiving the report of the special envoy he sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week to register Nigeria’s concerns over the attacks.
The Presidency, in a statement on Monday, by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the special envoy, who is the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai-Abubakar, returned to Nigeria after the assignment and submitted his report to Buhari already.
It said that Rufai-Ababukar was in Pretoria from Thursday, 5th to Saturday, 7th of this month.
The envoy conveyed the following to Ramaphosa,
“The deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.
“President Buhari stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
“President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it.
“The Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities, and to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law-abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general, against all forms of attacks including xenophobia.
“President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian Government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.”
The statement also gave details of Ramaphosa’s responses.