Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says that the Federal Government will demand that victims of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa be compensated by that country.
Onyeama who said this after a closed door meeting with Senate Committee on Diaspora and non-governmental organisations in Abuja on Friday, however, said no Nigerian national was killed in the attacks.
“We know for a fact that no Nigerian life has been lost, so we are extremely concerned now how to ensure adequate compensation for the property that has been lost and damaged.
“All the facts are indicating that no life was lost, because we have people on the ground.
“We have a high commissioner there, and the consul-general, they are engaging with the Nigerian Union, they are in touch with Nigerians in South Africa, so the facts are coming from there.
“But the Nigerian government will be demanding that the victims be compensated.
“This is because the South African government had been reported to have said that noting provides for them legally to provide compensation.
“They said that the victims would have to resort to insurance companies, but we are going to challenge that as a government.
“Because in the past, no compensation was paid to victims and we have to insist on that compensation be made,” he said.
He said that the meeting with the senate committee was to carry out a review of the current situation and agree on possible options to end attack of Nigerians in South Africa.
“We just meet with the senate committee and reviewed the situation with regards to South Africa, and we looked at all the possible options and we analysed the causes, agreed on a road map going forward.
“Part of that road map from the executive side, is that the president had dispatched a special envoy to South Africa.
“The envoy will be holding discussions with the South African government at the very highest level and should be back to Nigeria Saturday,” he said.
The chairman, of the committee, Sen. Bashiru Ajibola, said that they had been briefed on what transpired in the recent attack of Nigerians living in South Africa.
He however, said an assessment of damage was on-going with a view to making a clear demand of compensation for the victims from South African government.
“We must have a permanent solution to the attack; it should not be an endemic issue that happens intermittently,” he said.
Ajibola also said that the Senate believed that Nigerian government at the executive level was doing everything possible to alleviate sufferings of Nigerians and ensure lasting solution to the attacks.
He said that the Senate was ready to support the evacuation plans and efforts of the private airline for Nigerians interested in coming back.
He, however, advised that whatever steps being embarked upon should promote the interest of Nigerians, as record showed that not less than 800, 000 Nigerians are resident in South Africa.