Xenophobia: No plan to break diplomatic ties with South Africa – Minister, Onyeama

Xenophobia: No plan to break diplomatic ties with South Africa – Minister, Onyeama

The Nigerian government on Friday dismissed calls to break diplomatic ties with South Africa despite the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Diaspora at the National Assembly. Onyeama Onyeama said taking such action would not be in the interest

The Nigerian government on Friday dismissed calls to break diplomatic ties with South Africa despite the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Diaspora at the National Assembly.

Onyeama Onyeama said taking such action would not be in the interest of Nigerians in South Africa.

He argued however that Nigeria would consider other options apart from diplomatic ties severance, to resolve the ongoing crisis.

He said: “We are not thinking to the stage of diplomatic ties called off. There are various options. We are not by any means at a stage where we are breaking diplomatic relations with South Africa.

“We just met with the senate committee to review the situation with regard to South Africa and we looked at all the possible options we analysed the possible causes and agreed on a road map going forward.

The Minister also recalled that the special envoy President Muhammadu Buhari sent to South Africa would return to the country on Saturday.

“Mr. President has dispatched a special envoy to South Africa who would be holding discussions with the South African government at the very highest level.

“He should be back tomorrow (Saturday), that will now give the government the basis for further action. In the meantime, if the government is very much on top of the situation, he said.

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“We know for a fact that no Nigerian life has been lost so we are extremely concerned to ensure that there will be adequate compensation for property that have been damaged.

“We know that a Nigerian Airline is putting a plane at the disposal of most Nigerians that wish to take the opportunity to leave South Africa, this is purely voluntary, but we are particularly determined to particularly make sure that this crisis does not re-occur.

“It has been happening for far too long, it’s becoming almost endemic, so with the distinguished senators, are helping with some of the options that we may have to ensure that this will be the last time we will ever be meeting to talk about Nigerians attacked in South Africa and to take definitive measures.

“To start doing that, we want to have all the facts available and then we will take the necessary measures”, he said.

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