Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali
Nigerians resident in South Africa have been directed by the Nigerian Government to remain indoors up until the ongoing xenophobic attacks in the country are put under control. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting he attended at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the directive was communicated to them by Nigeria’s mission in Pretoria. The minister said, “With the discussions I have been having with Nigeria’s Head of Mission in Pretoria, no Nigerian has so far been affected. “They informed me that they have called members of the Nigerian community and addressed them and told them to close their shops, stay at home and keep out of trouble and obey the laws of South Africa.
“They have also confirmed that the South African authorities have moved in to take actions that would forestall any further disturbance in that country.”
Wali however said the government would not hesitate to evacuate Nigerians from the country if the situation worsened. He said, “If it (the situation) gets worse, it is the duty of our country to make sure our people are brought back and we are taking that duty seriously. We are not prepared to allow any of our nationals to be subjected to such inhuman treatment.
“We are not being reactionary because this is happening to all foreigners, not Nigerians alone. We are monitoring the situation and will now take action according to the situation that develops.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs later issued a statement in which it called on the South Africa government to stop the attacks and put in place measures to “prevent a reoccurrence”. “Condemning the attacks which began two weeks ago, it said Nigeria abhorred violence and also “stands firm in its conviction that no cause could justify taking innocent souls.”
The statement read in part, “The people and government of Nigeria stand in solidarity with the rest of the world to condemn these unprovoked attacks on fellow Africans who have left their countries to seek greener pastures and better livelihood for themselves. The government of Nigeria would like to use this medium to reiterate its abhorrence of violence and therefore calls on the government of South Africa to live up to its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to stop the ongoing xenophobic attacks.
“It is gratifying to note, however, that the a South African President(Jacob Zuma) has condemned the attack. In addition, the city of Durban has also organised rallies against xenophobia.”