The xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa has triggered anger amongst Nigerians, resulting into a ripple effect of them destroying properties and businesses, owned by South African firms In Nigeria on Tuesday evening.
Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa have been the target of attacks since last week when a taxi driver was killed by an alleged drug peddler from Tanzania in Pretoria.
As of Monday, three persons had been killed while one person was in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation.
As result of the killings meted on Nigerians in South Africa, some Nigerians on Tuesday evening destroyed businesses owned by South Africa like Shoprite, in different parts of the country, looted and burnt some properties.
In Lagos for example, branches of Shoprite located at Lekki, Jakande and Sangotedo were targeted, looted, as properties were destroyed in the premises.
Another scene that caught the attention of the angry Nigerians was a vehicle carrying foreigners, which as apprehended, stoned at, and destroyed. Security men were sent to the scene few hours after, to calm the issue; but the vehicle and was later set ablaze at night, after security forces had left the scene.
So far, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate and the House of Representatives, have expressed their displeasure over the continued killing.
Concerning the situation, President Buhari specifically sent a special envoy to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, to express his deep concern about the “reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”
Still on the same issue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in compliance with Buhari’s directive, summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, to express Nigeria’s displeasure over the continued killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
In a statement in Abuja, the Presidency said the special envoy Buhari sent to Ramaphosa was expected to land in Pretoria by Thursday.
The statement, which was signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, did not give the name of the envoy.
It added that Buhari was deeply concerned about the “reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”
On his part, Osinbajo described the attacks as “reckless,” noting that the latest happenings “run against ideals South African leaders fought for.”
Osinbajo, while chatting with reporters in Kano on Tuesday, said, “It is unfortunate because Nigeria and Nigerians invested a great deal in the destruction and pulling down of apartheid. Besides, these acts of bigotry are entirely contrary to the very ideals that all the great South African leaders, including the present President fought for, and for which many gave their lives.”
Meanwhile, Onyeama has ruled out reprisals as a solution to the problem.
Rather, he said the Federal Government would continue to pursue the option of engaging the South African authorities to promote peace.
The minister, who spoke with State House Correspondents soon after he met with Buhari, explained that Nigeria did not believe that two wrongs would make a right.
Onyeama, reacting said, “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 goodwill we may be able to work together to put in place these mechanisms that would make a difference.”
Onyeama also stated that another option being considered was to send Nigerian security agents to South Africa “to work closely with the South African Police Force.”
However, the High Commission of Nigeria in Pretoria has begun compiling a list of the victims of the xenophobic attacks.
The mission directed Nigerians who were affected by the violence to come forward.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, in a statement in Pretoria on Tuesday, said, “The High Commission and the Consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg are compiling the list of all the Nigerian victims of the current anarchy for engagement with the South African government and other stakeholders for succour.
“In this regard, all Nigerian victims of the current attacks are requested to come forward to report their situation to the High Commission and the Consulate.”
The envoy said the two missions would continue to be home to all Nigerians “in this trying times and in the future,” noting that the mission had remained open since the outbreak of violence.