President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, to undertake immediate evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return to Nigeria.
The President gave the directive On Monday after receiving the report of the special envoy he sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week to register Nigeria’s displeasure over the xenophobic attacks on its citizens in South Africa.
The Presidency, in a statement on Monday, said the special envoy, who is the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai-Abubakar, returned to Nigeria after the assignment and submitted his report to Buhari.
The envoy was in Pretoria from September 5 to 7.
Mr. Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said the envoy expressed the president’s concern about the intermittent violence against Nigerians and their business interests in South Africa.
He said the president stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
The statement read in part, “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 is done to stop it.
“The Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is 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.
“President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.”