SOUTH African President, Jacob Zuma arrived in Abuja yesterday night on a two-day official visit to Nigeria, which begins today.
Though details of the visit were still sketchy at press time, the South African president is expected to address a joint session of the National Assembly today. President Muhammadu Buhari and Zuma will also address the South Africa Business Forum.
“To date‚ there are over 120 South African companies doing business in Nigeria in various sectors‚ including telecommunications‚ aviation‚ tourism‚ banking‚ property‚ retail‚ entertainment and the fast food‚” Zuma’s office said.
“With its large population and vast natural resources‚ especially oil and gas‚ Nigeria is South Africa’s key trading partner on the continent‚ providing significant opportunities for its exports and investments and is ranked seventh in terms of South Africa’s total trade in Africa,” it added.
The South African President arrived with six ministers and a huge business delegation.
In the delegation are the Minister of Trades and Industry, Rob Davies, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister for Energy, Tina Joemat-Peterson, Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Minister of Mineral Resources, Mosebenzi Zwane.
The Federal Government had on Sunday, pledged to address the myriad of challenges being faced by Nigerians in South Africa during Zuma’s visit to Nigeria. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, made the pledge when the Nigeria Union, South Africa, the umbrella body for all Nigerians in the country paid him a visit in Abuja.
Onyeama said that he had taken note of their complaints and would address them through the bi-national commission established to look into areas of cooperation between the countries.
“I believed that since the issues you identified are broad, ranging from criminal to financial and immigration, it is something we are going to bring into the next Bi-National Commission meeting,’’ Onyeama said.
Onyeama assured the union that the Federal Government was committed to ensure that the rights of Nigerians were not trampled on in that or any other country. Its President, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, led the union.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, Ayeni appealed to the Federal Government to prevail on Zuma to relax the permit/visa restrictions for Nigerians as obtained