Xenophobic Attacks: Nigeria Govt to dispatch security agents to SA

Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama says the Federal Government is looking into possibility of sending some security agents to South Africa to safeguard lives and property of Nigerians.

Onyeama made this known when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

He explained that the planned deployment of the security agents was part of security proposal meant to check the unabated attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

According to the minister, the Nigerian security agents, if deployed, are expected to work with their South African counterparts.

The minister disclosed that already the Nigerian government had registered its strong protest to the government of South Africa over the attacks.

“We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference.

“One with regard to compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.

“We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents deploying them initially in the Nigerian High commission to work closely with the South African police force.

“We believe that would be a very important process to address and pre-empt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.

“So you will have some certain number of Nigeria security people trying to work with the South African police force,’’ he said.

Onyeama assured that the Federal Government would not engage in revenge mission, saying “we do not believe that two wrongs make right.

“I think in terms of revenge on those kind of attack is not what we are looking forward to.

“The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation, that they are equally exasperated by the whole event.

“We believe that with that good will we may be able to work together to put in place these mechanisms that would make a difference.’’

Buhari had on Sept. 3 dispatched a Special Envoy to convey to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa his deep concerns over the unabated attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since Aug. 29.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that South Africans commenced fresh attacks, looting and burning of businesses and properties belonging to Nigerians and other nationals and in the process killed three people.

The President of the Nigeria Union South Africa, Mr Adetola Olubajo, said on Monday that the attacks began on Sunday morning in Jeppestown area of Johannesburg when a building was set ablaze by an angry mob.

“The mob also looted several shops that were around the vicinity suspected to be owned by foreign nationals.

“But the Police later dispersed the mob and made some arrest.

“Late in the evening of Sunday, Sept. 1, a group of violent locals suspected to be Zulu hostel dwellers besieged Jules Street in Malvern; Johannesburg looted and burned shops and businesses with Nigerians being the most victims.

According to witnesses living on Jules Street, the Zulu hostel dwellers were very organised and well-coordinated in looting and burning of any shops/businesses suspected to be owned by foreign nationals.

NAN further reports that over 50 shops/businesses were destroyed, looted and burnt over the night in Malvern area of Johanesburg.