We will not condone attacks on Nigerians in South Africa-Presidency

Timothy Choji, Abuja

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The Nigerian government says it will not condone continuous attack of its citizens residing in South Africa.

The government says it has therefore drawn the red line and would explore all avenues to ensure the safety of its citizens residing in South Africa.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made government’s stand known on Wednesday, when he addressed State House Correspondents, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The government of South Africa, over many years now has allowed fords of individuals to come together and persistently target Nigerians living in South Africa, in some cases killing them, looting and destroying their properties and this is totally unacceptable

“Yes the attack is not only on Nigerians but we are responsible for Nigerians and it is instructive to note that there is now an African consensus building around this, that it is just totally ostensible and unacceptable that there should be xenophobia against Africans on African soil, not to talk about what Nigeria has done for South Africa as everybody knows that during the years of apartheid, we did a lot but nevertheless, what is happening is just totally unacceptable because the large victims are Nigerians and we just will not tolerate it,” he stressed.

He said Nigeria’s Special Envoy to South Africa is already there consulting and would be back before the week runs out.

When pressed further to name the Special Envoy, the Minister said he would be known at a later date because government for some reasons would not reveal his identity now.

Onyeama confirmed that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa has been recalled.

He said: “That is one of the options we have considered. He would need to come back but he will do so after the Special envoy returns.”

The Minister said Nigeria will hold South Africa accountable for the lives and property of Nigerians residing in South Africa.

“Enough is enough we are going to address it once and for all this time. This is the position of government. The government is acting but we cannot put everything we are doing in the public domain  but we want to assure all Nigerians that this government is determined, that a red line has been drawn and that we will not cave in on this occasion and the South African government has to assume its responsibilities and protect Nigerians in South Africa and we have to holds them to account and they have to do that as well as pay full compensation,” he said.

He however expressed President Buhari’s sadness over the retaliatory attacks that took place in Nigeria on Wednesday, as he advised citizens to desist.

The Minister said President Buhari would soon address Nigerians either through a national broadcast or through a Press statement on the matter.

Ime Njoku