Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ambassador Ahmed, Rufai Abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari’s special envoy to South Africa, who met President Cyril Ramaphosa, is back in the country. Ambassador Abubakar is the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (DGNIA).
Similarly, President Buhari has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to continue to engage the southern African country for lasting solutions to the spate of xenophobic attacks.
He has also maintained that ongoing efforts to evacuate willing Nigerians ready to return at the cost should continue.
Abubakar, who was in Pretoria between September 5 and 7, 2019, conveyed Buhari’s message.
In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, “President Buhari stressed the need for the 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 was done to stop it.
“The special envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian government was 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.”
According to the statement, “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 doing 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 Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage 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.”