Xenophobia: South Africans Attack Nigerians Again

FILE PHOTO: A protestor gestures and holds a placard during a demonstration in front of the South African Embassy in Lusaka on September 4, 2019 to protest against Xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in the Rainbow Nation. SALIM DAWOOD / AFP

 

South Africans living in Mpumalamga province have attacked Nigerians in a fresh wave of xenophobic violence.

Channels Television correspondent in South Africa reports that further information concerning the attack is still sketchy as the crew is on its way to the province for details.

The leadership of Nigerian Citizens In South Africa (NICASA) and Nigeria’s Consular General to South Africa are also on their way to Witbank in Mpumalanga province to gather more information on the attack.

This fresh attack comes a few weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari visited South Africa and called for the protection of Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in the country.

Buhari during the visit also condemned the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital which led to the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

He demanded that measures should be put in place to prevent the re-occurrence of the attacks.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in response repeatedly apologised over the attacks and reiterated his government’s “deep regret at the incidents of public violence.”

About 600 Nigerians returned from South Africa early in September after xenophobic violence in Johannesburg. The second batch of 315 Nigerians later returned mid September and many more have continued to leave South Africa in the wave of the deadly attacks.

Foreigners Appeal To Be Relocated From South Africa After Attacks

SA Minister Assures Foreign Nationals Of Halted Attacks

 

Hundreds of foreign nationals on Wednesday took to the streets of Cape Town, demanding to be relocated from South Africa after camping at the UN refugee agency offices for a week.

The foreigners, many of whom described themselves as asylum-seekers, say they no longer feel safe in South Africa after a surge of xenophobic attacks last month.

“Save lives of refugees before it is too late,” said one slogan, painted in green on a white banner.

Many of the protesters have been camping at the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cape Town since October 9, vowing not to leave the premises until the agency addressed their concerns.

The numbers had grown steadily over the past week, spilling out from corridors to the kerb outside the building.

“We marched to parliament for the government to hear us and to send a loud and clear message,” said Sylvia Nahimana, a group representative from Burundi.

“We have been negotiating with them since 2008 but the killing still goes on.”

 ‘No future for us’ 

Xenophobic violence left at least 62 dead that year. Seven people were killed in 2015 and 12 died in the latest spate of attacks this year — most of them South African. The incidents occurred mainly in the Johannesburg area.

The continent’s most industrialised economy is a magnet for migrants searching for better job prospects and asylum seekers looking for safety.

The country attracts people from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Others come from farther afield including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria and South Asian countries.

Seen as competing with locals for jobs, they are often the first to come under fire when South Africa’s chronic unemployment and inequality boils into resentment.

“We aren’t safe here and we aren’t safe in Bangladesh either,” said Hafeez Mohamed, a political dissident who sought refuge in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, where he saw his grocery store burned down.

“They treat us like chickens and we don’t want to be chickens here anymore.”

The protest broke out following a visit by the UNHCR chief.

“Preserving fair and efficient asylum systems is vital,” said Filippo Grandi in a statement on Wednesday.

“But to function effectively, they must be accompanied by safe, regular migration channels and other stay arrangements.”

But Grandi noted that resettlement to third countries was a “very limited option for refugees worldwide”, as the number of resettlement places was dropping.

South Africa is home to 268,000 refugees and asylum seekers, according to government statistics. They are mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and the DRC.

But the exact number of foreign nationals is unknown as majority are undocumented.

“South Africa isn’t better than our home countries we fled,” said Congolese Jean-Pierre Balus at the scene.

“We want to go somewhere out children have a future, where we aren’t segregated.”

“There is no future for us here,” he added.

AFP

Ramaphosa Asks South Africans To Tolerate Migrants

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the crowd gathered in Makhanda, Eastern Cape Province on April 27, 2019.  Michele Spatari / AFP

 

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged South Africans to be tolerant of migrants following recent xenophobic violence, as hundreds of refugees camped outside UN offices demanding to be removed the country, fearing for their safety.  

“We are insisting there needs to be more tolerance, there needs to be more understanding,” Ramaphosa told the upper house of parliament in Cape Town.

In August and early September, the country saw a wave of xenophobic violence that left 10 South Africans and two migrants dead when mobs descended on foreign-owned stores in and around Johannesburg, destroying properties and looting.

“South Africans are not xenophobic, we are not,” he said, describing the recent unrest as having been “driven by criminality”.

Ramaphosa said while migration was a challenge, with locals and foreigners competing for limited resources and services, “there should never be any form of prejudice that will be exercised or perpetrated against others.”

He answered questions in parliament, a few office blocks away from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices, where up to 300 foreigners staged a sit-in, demanding to be taken out of South Africa saying they were no longer safe.

They vowed not to leave the premises until the UNHCR addressed their concerns.

As Africa’s most industrialised nation, South Africa is a magnet for economic migrants searching for better job prospects and asylum seekers looking for safety.

But the migrants gathered outside the UNHCR offices insist the country is no longer safe for them.

In a statement it assured the refugees and asylum seekers that it was “working closely” with South African authorities to continue providing protection through issuing appropriate identity documentation, facilitating access to health care, education and employment opportunities.

South Africa is hosting close to 268,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia, among others according to the UNHCR.

“As South Africans we should be embracing one another and indeed we should also embrace foreign nationals,” Ramaphosa added.

Xenophobia: Garba Shehu Outlines ‘Key Takeaways’ From Buhari’s Visit To South Africa

 

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, on Saturday published an article on President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to South Africa.

Mr Shehu’s article entitled ‘Key Takeaways From President Buhari’s Visit To South Africa’ comes one day after the President returned to Nigeria on Friday after his three-day trip.

President Buhari travelled to South Africa in company with 10 governors and ministers in the face of xenophobic attacks on foreigners in that country which forced hundreds of Nigerians to return home.

READ ALSO: Nigeria, South Africa To Issue 10-Year Visa To Businessmen, Academics

In his article on Saturday, Mr Shehu believes the President’s visit has “ushered in the process of healing of wounds that had festered over time, and upgrading of good bilateral relations to special and strategic levels”.

Read the full text below:

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM PRESIDENT BUHARI’S VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA By Garba Shehu

There were several crucial outcomes from the three-day state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Republic of South Africa, October 2nd – 4th, 2019, and here are some highlights from the historic journey.

The President, who was accompanied by Governors of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Plateau State, Simon Lalong, seven cabinet ministers, head of the National Intelligence Agency and that of the Diaspora Commission was on a dual mission to undertake a State Visit and Co-Chair, with President Cyril Ramaphosa, the inaugural meeting of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa.

In 2016, the two countries had agreed to lead the BNC at the level of heads of state, which was the first ever by Nigeria.

In focus during President Buhari’s visit was a wide range of bilateral, regional, continental and global issues of common interest.

For the first time, in the very historic relations that binds the two countries, this visit sought to, and successfully, established an equation between the two and their leaders. The result seems positive with both leaders acknowledging how the meetings reinforced the historic and strategic relations that exist between them, and the need to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation. They both proclaimed a perfect meeting of minds.

The meetings took place against the overarching backdrop of the sporadic xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals including Nigerians, which had threatened to rupture the cordial and brotherly relationship between the two countries.

When some countries in the sub-region recalled their ambassadors and threatened to cut ties with South Africa following the xenophobic attacks, Nigeria under President Buhari, chose to act wisely by not taking rash actions. There were doubts in many quarters on the continent, if the South African state understood early enough, the magnitude of the consequences of attacks on their own nation, and Africa as a whole. So for President Buhari, the approach was one of engagement, to assist the government and people of that country to overcome their problem, which by now had become our own, and Africa’s challenge.

President Buhari set the right tone by sending a Special Envoy, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), to obtain first hand facts concerning the condition of Nigerians and to sensitize the South African leadership on the concerns of Nigeria and of the continent as well the implications of the attacks.

After receiving a brief from the envoy, the President decided to proceed with an earlier planned visit, rather than abort it as some had suggested. With the visit, he saw an opportunity to put Nigeria/South Africa relations on a fast track; that if the two largest economies can come closer and work together, they can help one another, and the continent at large to overcome the many problems confronting them. Where there is development, prosperity and jobs among Africans, the backward habits as embarrassingly witnessed in South Africa and reprisal attacks, including Nigeria, would have been avoided. President Buhari did not, therefore, see “an eye for an eye” or a tit-for-tat as a solution.

In appreciation of this approach, many in African leadership, including the African Union have sent messages to the President, thanking him for his enlightened leadership and wisdom in dealing with the matter, and in particular for speaking for Africa.

Arising from their discussions, both leaders condemned xenophobic violence and the reprisals. A solution to the typical violence, in their various pronouncements, lies in poverty eradication, jobs creation, crime prevention, observance of rule of law and lawful migration. The two Presidents directed their Foreign Affairs Ministers to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism for prevention and monitoring platform.

Closely linked to this is the issue of the large number of Nigerians incarcerated in South African prisons, their number still undetermined, and lack of communication from the authorities regarding the process and the status of these arrests. The President requested relevant authorities to alert the Nigerian High Commission and the Consulate-General whenever a Nigerian is arrested, in line with Geneva Convention on Consular matters.

Nigeria and South Africa agreed to exchange a list of frequent travellers, notable business people and academics to facilitate the issuance of long term multiple entry visas for 10 years. There was also an agreement to re-establish the Nigeria/South Africa Consular Forum, with departments equivalent to our own Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Co-Chair), Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian High Commission, the Consulate, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking of Persons, Immigration Service and the Police. The forum will meet two times each year.

The two countries agreed to cooperate in geopolitical matters affecting the continent, on such matters of human rights, reform of the United Nations, migration and security issues, the fight against corruption and terrorism, nuclear disarmament and Western Sahara.

To take full advantage of the Nigerian Presidency of the UN General Assembly, currently led by Nigeria’s Permanent Representative, Professor Tijjani Mohammed Bande, and the South African Chairmanship of the Security Council for October, 2019, they agreed to push for the implementation of Resolution 2439 of the Security Council passed 2017, that called for a High Level Visit to the Lake Chad Basin.

The leaders of the two countries agreed to come closer on defence matters and counter terrorism; to intensify military training cooperation and share intelligence, and to work closely in areas of space technology and cyber security. It is also important to note that that the leaders of the first and second economies on the continent agreed to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment. The inaugural meeting of this council will hold in April in Abuja next year. The meeting reviewed and agreed on the terms of reference as well as the operating rules for the council.

President Buhari and President Ramaphosa also tackled the knotty issue of market access. While South Africa is expected to re-submit the items they wish to have removed from Nigerian import prohibition list and want identified legal and regulatory difficulties facing businesses from their country in Nigeria removed, this country equally wants to have similar obstacles faced by Nigerian companies in changed or taken out altogether. Nigeria expressed commitment to open a trade office in South Africa.

Both countries noted the non-participation of Nigerian banks in South Africa and requested such banks to define their interests for determination by the relevant regulatory authorities in South Africa.

The same thing would apply to the aviation sector where the South African Airways has free air space in Nigeria but airlines here say they have difficulties accessing the South African air space. South Africa indicated they will look into all the issues.

The two leaders also took note of the significant footprints of South African businesses in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods. They welcomed business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises as well as the investment of the Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.

In dealing with the unwanted tide of informal artisanal mining activities, a team from South Africa will undertake a study tour of Nigeria in January next year. Also in the coming year, there will be joint minerals investment road show as well as an in-depth research and study of coal in this country, with Nigeria gleaning from South Africa’s rich experience in the sector.

Nigeria’s proposal for knowledge sharing in the areas of policy, legal and regulatory frameworks in mining and metallurgy sector was also welcomed.

In another significant pronouncement to be welcomed by many, President Ramophosa expressed regrets again and again on the xenophobic incidents and contended that South Africa is an integral part of the African continent: “We should never forget that our fellow Africans have contributed to the development of our economy and that of the region, and that South Africans are helping to develop economies across the continent.”

In a speech that should calm many Nigerians, who daily accuse our African brothers of ingratitude, President Ramaphosa said at the State Banquet in honour of President Buhari that: “We owe our freedom to Nigeria and Africa.” He cited sacrifices made by the country and its citizens “in spearheading the call for sanctions against the apartheid regime in the 70s and 80s following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960,” adding that “without Nigeria, freedom for South Africa would have come at a greater cost and a later date.” He repeatedly gave strong assurances that xenophobic attacks will not be allowed to happen again.

On his part, President Buhari read one of his best speeches in the current times at the banquet, a speech that in no small measure, delighted Nigerians and South Africans.

When he met the Nigerians in Diaspora, the President spoke as a father and a true African leader: “Recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa. It was an embarrassment to the continent. Let me again use this medium to condole the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace. I also commiserate with all those who were injured. May God heal their wounds. My sympathies are also with those who have lost properties.

“During my visit here, we have discussed these attacks on foreigners and Nigerians. The authorities have expressed their apologies over the incidents and have resolved to take necessary steps to end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship.

“We have just inaugurated the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission at the level of Heads of State with a firm determination to further bring our two countries together in a mutually beneficial partnership. Let us, therefore, give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence.”

President Buhari’s visit to South Africa has, without doubt, ushered in the process of healing of wounds that had festered over time, and upgrading of good bilateral relations to special and strategic levels.

Garba Shehu is the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity.

Oyo Govt Receives South Africa Returnees, Gives N30,000 Each

Oyo State Deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan with some of the South Africa returnees at Agodi Secretariat in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

 

Oyo State government on Wednesday received 32 indigenes of the state who returned from South Africa following the xenophobic attack on foreigners in the country.

A monetary gift of N30,000 was given to each of the returnees to cater to their immediate needs. The government also promised to resettle and reintegrate them into society.

The returnees which include 30 adults and two minors were received at the office of the Head Service, Agodi Secretariat in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital.

READ ALSO: Buhari Calls For Protection Of Nigerians, Foreigners Living In South Africa

Deputy governor of the state, Rauf Olaniyan, while receiving the returnees said a need assessment exercise and proper profiling will be carried out with the help of relevant agencies to ensure the returnees are appropriately empowered.

Olaniyan assured that the Oyo State Government is ready to empower them after proper profiling and need-assessment survey is carried out.

While giving them the monetary gift, the deputy governor advised the returnees to be creative by identifying and tapping into the various investment and job opportunities in the state.

He pointed to the various funding opportunities by the Bank of Industry (BOI), and urged them to come up with business proposals.

Director of Media, Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Abdulrahman Balogun, who led the returnees said the Federal Government is committed to taking care of all Nigerians irrespective of where they were across the world.

He noted that the government would now embark on reorientation, reintegration, and empowerment of the returnees.

One of the returnees, Mr Lawal Bolatito said he is ready to begin work as soon as possible especially in the field of agriculture.

Buhari, Ramaphosa Vow To ‘Take All Necessary Measures’ Against Xenophobia

President Muhammadu Buhari with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, on October 3, 2019.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, have vowed to put in place all measures needed to prevent a reoccurrence of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in that country.

This was contained in a joint communique issued by both leaders at the end of their meeting on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa.

At the meeting, President Ramaphosa briefed President Buhari on the recent incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals living in his country.

He also acknowledged that the attacks on foreigners were not consistent with the values and principles underpinning the country’s constitutional democracy.

The South African leader, however, dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, saying other foreign nationals and South Africans were also affected.

He assured President Buhari that the South African government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions, including engagements with the diplomatic community and others, were underway.

On his part, President Buhari who condemned the attacks on Nigerians expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation.

He also invited his South African counterpart to pay a reciprocal visit to Nigeria on a date to be jointly agreed and communicated through diplomatic channels.

Read the full text of the joint communique issued by both Presidents below:

JOINT COMMUNIQUE ON THE OCCASION OF THE STATE VISIT TO THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND THE INAUGURAL SESSION OF THE ELEVATED BI-NATIONAL COMMISSION BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA, PRETORIA

03 OCTOBER 2019

  1. At the invitation of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa; His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, paid a State Visit to South Africa from 02 – 04 October 2019, and attended the inaugural session of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC), as part of continuing bilateral engagements aimed at strengthening and deepening cooperation between South Africa and Nigeria.
  2. President Buhari was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising State Governors, Ministers, and Senior Government Officials.
  3. The two Heads of State reviewed a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest. They acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that exist between the two countries, and the need to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.
  4. The two Presidents noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of high-level visits and meetings between the two countries. In this regard, they recalled the successful working visit of President Ramaphosa to Nigeria in July 2018, during which the two Heads of State reaffirmed their collective desire and commitment to enhance political, economic and social relations between the two countries.
  5. The two Presidents appreciated the vast nature of the two countries’ bilateral cooperation which covers, amongst others; Trade and Investment, Energy, Mining, Defence and Security issues, Justice, Police, Immigration, Tourism, Environment, Education, transport as well as Science and Technology. In this regard, the two Presidents took note of the thirty-two (32) signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), and committed themselves to ensuring that those which are in force are fully implemented while those which are not yet in force are to be revived for implementation.
  6. Both Presidents noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed the steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments. They welcomed the important role of the Business Forum, which took place on the margins of the State Visit. The two leaders further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade, and Investment. The inaugural meeting of the Council would be held not later than April 2020, in Abuja. The Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.
  7. Both leaders took note of the significant footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast food industries. They also noted and welcomed the business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment of Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.
  8. President Ramaphosa used the opportunity of the meeting to brief President Buhari on the recent incidents of violence in South Africa affecting foreign nationals. He also alluded to the fact that these unfortunate incidents are not consistent with the values and principles underpinning South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
  9. President Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as well. The President assured his counterpart that the South African Government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions including engagements with the diplomatic community and émigré communities, security operations, policy, and legislation reviews were underway.
  10. Both Presidents strongly condemned the attacks against foreign nationals including Nigerians in South Africa and the reprisal actions against South Africans and their interests in Nigeria. They expressed a strong commitment to take all necessary measures to stop a recurrence of these attacks which they said undermine the vision of a strong and prosperous Africa that the two countries have for the continent.
  11. President Ramaphosa further contended that South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and, in this context advocates for a peaceful, vibrant and sustainable Africa and that as Africans, we all have a shared commitment to foster peace and greater continental unity. He further stated that we should never forget that our fellow Africans have contributed to developing our economy, and that of the region and similarly South Africans are helping to develop economies across the continent.
  12. Both Presidents condemned these violent incidents and the destruction of property and reiterated their call for heightened law enforcement. They stressed the importance of high-level engagements on this unfortunate phenomenon as demonstrated by the reciprocal dispatch of Special Envoys by both countries. In this regard, the two Presidents endorsed the establishment of an Early Warning Mechanism and directed the two Foreign Ministers to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism to be used as a preventative and monitoring platform.
  13. The two Presidents further endorsed the reestablishment of the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria consular Forum to meet twice a year.
  14. At the Continental level, the two Presidents exchanged views on the current political, economic and security situation in their respective regions. They also expressed their grave concern on the ongoing instability in some of the countries on the Continent and strongly condemned the continued terrorist and extremist activities.
  15. Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
  16. On the international front, President Ramaphosa seized the opportunity of the meeting to congratulate Nigeria as the current Chair of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In the same vein, President Buhari also congratulated South Africa as the President of the United Nations Security Council for the month of October 2019 and as the upcoming chair of the African Union for the year 2020. They reiterated their call for the reform of the United Nations Security Council.
  17. President Buhari expressed profound gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. He also took the opportunity to invite President Ramaphosa to pay a reciprocal visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria on a date to be jointly agreed and communicated through diplomatic channels.
  18. In conclusion, the two Presidents reaffirmed the strategic relations that exist between the two sister Republics and committed themselves to working together to further enhance close political, economic and social cooperation in the interest of their people and the continent.

DONE IN PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA

03 OCTOBER 2019

Buhari Calls For Protection Of Nigerians, Foreigners Living In South Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday began a visit to South Africa with a call for the protection of Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in the country.

Buhari condemned the xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg, South Africa’s capital which led to the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals.

He demanded that measures should be put in place to prevent the re-occurrence of the attacks.

READ ALSO: Arrest, Prosecute Foreigners Engaged In Illegal Mining – Lawan

“Mr President, we have condemned in strongest terms attacks against Nigerians and other African nationals living in South Africa, including the looting of their shops and businesses and burning of their properties.

“We call for the strengthening and the implementation of all the necessary measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such actions,” Buhari said at the start of the meeting with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa in response repeatedly apologised over the attacks, reiterated his government’s “deep regret at the incidents of public violence.”

“Some of the acts of violence were directed at foreign nationals and some of whom coming from your own country.

“We firmly condemn all forms of intolerance and will not hesitate to act against criminal acts and violence,” he said.

Buhari and his counterpart Ramaphosa later went into long-planned talks aimed at bolstering trade ties and political cooperation to boost their economies.

The three-day state visit, by Buhari to South Africa is the first by a Nigerian leader since 2013, had been planned before the wave of violence.

A “town hall meeting” between Buhari and Nigerians living in South Africa is scheduled for Friday to listen to the expats’ experience and showcase efforts to support them.

Buhari, 10 Governors And Ministers To Visit South Africa On Wednesday

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will On Wednesday depart Abuja for South Africa, with 10 governors and Ministers following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The three-day trip which comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks will see both leaders discuss the welfare of Nigerians in the country, and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts.

While in South Africa, President Buhari will also hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of the government’s commitment to protecting their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.

He will also preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission along with his host, during which a progress report will be presented.

At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.

The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts.

Among those to accompany the President are Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

Others are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd); Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.

Also on the trip are: National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Chairman/CEO Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The President will return to Abuja on Friday.

NigeriaAt59: High Unemployment Rate Is Highly Unacceptable – Gupta

 

An expert on globalisation and emerging markets, Dr Anil Gupta says a high unemployment rate whether individually or in a society is highly unacceptable.

Gupta, who was one of the speakers at The Platform a programme convened by Pastor Poju Oyemade of Covenant Christian Center, on Tuesday said estimates show that a huge number of Nigerian youths are unemployed a situation which he said is capable of ‘feeding’ xenophobia.

READ ALSO: Buhari Vows To Take ‘Firm And Decisive Action’ Against Hate Speech

According to him, the high rate of unemployment among young South Africans gave room for xenophobia, hence Nigeria should not treat unemployment with kids glove.

“There is a lot that Nigeria needs to do. For example, the figures according to several estimates from 15 to 35 age groups the level of unemployment or underemployment in Nigeria is well higher than 25% and that clearly tells us that something needs to be done.

“At the society level, high unemployment level runs the risk of feeding xenophobia,” Gupta said, adding that this is responsible for the recent developments in South Africa where foreigners, especially foreigners from other African countries including Nigerians are attacked.

He concluded that “a high unemployment rate is highly unacceptable individually or at the level of society.

“Looking at where Nigeria is coming from and where we are going, a lot more lies ahead.”

Gupta also pointed out that Nigeria’s GDP growth rate has been slower than the population growth rate, according to him, what this means is that per capita income in real terms in Nigeria has declined over the past years.

VIDEO: Nigerians In South Africa Are Not Criminals, They Are Businessmen – Obasanjo

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted those describing Nigerians living in South Africa as criminals engaged in drug peddling and other forms of crime.

Contrary to the claims, he believes those making such allegations should be thankful to Nigerians, many of whom he says are contributing to the growth of the South African economy.

The former president stated this on Saturday during a session with reporters at his Presidential Library residence in Abeokuta, that Ogun State capital.

He said, “Nigerians in South Africa are not drug peddlers, they are not criminals.

“There are many of them that are genuine businessmen, genuine professionals who are making meaningful contribution to the economy and the social life of their country.”

Speaking further, Obasanjo noted that he met two Nigerians doing legitimate business in South Africa with the turnover running into millions of dollars.

He added that these people employed scores of South Africans in the country.

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo addressing reporters in Abeokuta, Ogun State on September 28, 2019.

 

 

Foreigners Taking Jobs?

In the face of recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and others in that country, the elder statesman condemned the insulations that foreigners were taking the jobs of South Africans.

He advised Nigerians in the diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country and cautioned South African authorities against bias while punishing erring foreigners.

The former president warned against being partial, stressing that offenders should be punished in line with the constitution of the country.

He said, “The point that I made and that I believe should be made is that if a Nigerian in South Africa commits an offence, you don’t have to say ‘this is a Nigerian’; he is a citizen, a resident of your country and please treat him according to the law of the land.

“And the idea of thinking or saying that foreigners are taking your job; that also should be killed because most of these foreigners bring something into the country.”

“As I have always said, Nigerians living outside Nigeria must try to be good citizens of wherever they live. Be a good citizen of where you live and if you break the law, let the law of that land take its course,” Obasanjo added.

Xenophobia: Buhari’s Meeting With Ramaphosa Will Address Issue, Says Obasanjo

 

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed optimism that the proposed meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, would go a long way to address the issue of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in that country.

He stated this on Saturday while answering questions from journalists at his Presidential Library in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

“The meeting that President Buhari and President Ramaphosa will have during the first week of October should smoothen the ground and the right statement and the right action coming from both sides should encourage our people to go back,” the elder statesman said.

He added, “My joy is that President Ramaphosa is ready to do what needs to be done to stop this ugly incident and to put the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa on the right track.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo addresss reporters in Abeokuta, Ogun State on September 28, 2019.

 

The former president was confident that the meeting of the two leaders scheduled to hold in October would provide the much-needed avenue for smothering of the near strain relationship between their countries over the xenophobia in South Africa.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Asks Nigeria, Others To Report South Africa To AU

He supported the calls for compensation for those whose businesses were destroyed during the recent attacks in that country.

Obasanjo commended the steps taken so far by the two presidents and called for the reactivation of the bilateral commission between the two countries.

He, however, asked Nigerians to be law-abiding and be good ambassadors of the country wherever they find themselves.

“As I have always said, Nigerians living outside Nigeria must try to be good citizens of wherever they live.

“And when I was president, when I met Nigerians abroad; I said look, being good citizens of the country in which you live and then, tie to when you will be good citizens of the world and when you come back home, you will be good citizens of Nigeria,” the elder statesman noted.

Obasanjo Visits President Ramaphosa Of South Africa

 

Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has paid a courtesy visit to South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa.

He presented the latest book he co-authored titled “Democracy Works: Rewiring Politics to Africa’s Advantage”, to the South African leader.

President Ramaphosa thanked the former President for working hard and still having the energy to write and contribute to current debates about the development of Africa.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Buhari Pledges ‘Solidified’ Nigeria-South Africa Ties As Ramaphosa Apologises

The two leaders also used the opportunity to reflect on recent events in South Africa which saw more than four hundred Nigerians voluntarily evacuated from the country.

A statement by the presidential spokeswoman Khusela Diko says former President Obasanjo expressed his sincere appreciation of President Ramaphosa’s recent appointment of a team of Special Envoys who have in the past few days visited a number of fellow African states to deliver a message from the President regarding the incidents of violence against mostly foreign nationals.