On 5th September, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave a press conference in Abuja addressing the Xexophobic attacks in South Africa.
“Those attacks have escalated in recent times, with deadly consequences,” he said, noting also the reprisal attacks that have targeted South African businesses in Nigeria. He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a Special Envoy to President Cyril Ramaphosa, with his concerns and to also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.
Mr Mohammed added: “Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, acting on the instructions of Mr. President, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and secure assurance of the safety of their lives and property.”
As a consequence of these recent developments, “Nigeria is recalling its High Commissioner to South Africa, in addition to boycotting the World Economic Forum on Africa being hosted by South Africa. And plans are on to evacuate Nigerians who are willing to return home from South Africa. Of course, a number of other measures are also being considered by the government to keep Nigerians in South Africa safe.”
The minister appealed to Nigerians to not to carry out reprisal attacks on South African owned businesses in Nigeria as happened earlier in the week.
“Some hoodlums have also targeted foreigners under the guise of protesting against the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. This is saddening. If we are complaining that South Africans are attacking Nigerians in South Africa, how then can we tolerate Nigerians attacking Nigerians and foreigners right here in Nigeria?” he said.
“I want to assure all Nigerians, and indeed foreigners living in Nigeria, that the Federal Government has put in place adequate security measures to protect the lives and property of all. The security agencies have been put on high alert, and looters will be arrested and made to face justice.”
He appealed to opinion leaders and celebrities to also weigh their words before sharing on their social media platforms.