President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Envoy sent to South Africa in the wake of renewed attacks on foreigners including Nigerians, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar who is the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (DGNIA) has returned home.
The NIA boss stated upon his return that the South African president pledged to protect Nigerians living in his country in the face of diplomatic tension between the two countries as a result of xenophobia which has spurred reprisals in some African countries including Nigeria.
The Special Envoy was sent to deliver a Special Message to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. He was in Pretoria from Thursday, 5th to Saturday, 7th September 2019. After meeting with President Buhari in Abuja he conveyed the following outcomes following his South African engagement:
“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.
“On his part, President Ramaphosa agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
“President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.
“The Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular. They agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.
“President Buhari has taken note of the report and instructed the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate Authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take.
“President Buhari has also given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home.”