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Renewed attacks on Nigerians in South Africa 'distressing'

02 June 2013, 16:12

Ibadan - The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Nnenna Ukeje, has described the renewed attacks on Nigerians in South Africa as distressing.

In a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Sunday, the lawmaker said that the renewed attacks came at a time when Nigeria and South Africa had shown commitment to fostering closer relationships.

Ukeje (PDP-Abia), recalled how the two countries in May signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in different spheres of human endeavour.

She said that the agreements should trickle down the citizenry, especially from South Africa and urged Nigerians to remain committed in the knowledge that the government would do everything to protect them.

The lawmaker also commended the South Africa High Commissioner, Mr Louis Mnguni, for his quick intervention and promised to work closely with him until the resolution of the issues.

NAN recalls that 23 Nigerians in South Africa were forced out of their homes and chased out of Port-Nolloth community on May 26, by some South Africans, who accused the Nigerians of dealing in drugs.

Some Nigerians who spoke with a NAN correspondent in Johannesburg, said that their property were destroyed and looted.

Also, a Nigerian seriously injured in the attack, is still receiving treatment in a hospital in Johannesburg.

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it was still assessing the reported attacks on Nigerians.

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Martin Uhomoibhi, said in Abuja on Thursday that ``xenophobia under whatever guise is not acceptable.

"We believe that the action of some elements is inconsistent with our relations with South Africa and it does not have the blessings of our governments.’’ 

The permanent secretary noted that relations between both countries was at its "best forms’’ in recent times. 

"Our relations with South Africa are in the best of forms, following the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Cape Town, South Africa and his participation at the World Economic Forum in the country.

"People must learn to work with their government,’’ he stated.

NAN reports that part of the MoU will make it unnecessary for nationals of both countries holding official or diplomatic passports to acquire visa before travelling to either country.



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