Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari landed in South Africa on Wednesday for a state visit. Buhari’s tour follows xenophobic violence attacks in and around Johannesburg that led to tensions between the two countries, reported Eye Witness News.
Buhari is scheduled to meet his South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday to discuss bolstering trade ties and political cooperation as both struggles to revive their deteriorating economies. He is expected to urge Ramaphosa to pay reparations for the Nigerians affected by the violence.
The two leaders will also attend a business forum and chair a meeting of the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission designed to boost cooperation between the two countries.
The Nigerian president’s three-day state tour was planned before mobs attacked foreign-owned properties in and around Johannesburg last month. The violence killed at least 12 people and saw hundreds of migrant workers repatriated to Nigeria. In revenge attacks, some South African businesses in Nigeria were forced to close shop temporarily.
The two governments sent special envoys to each other’s capitals as Pretoria offered apologies in a bid to calm the anger. The recent violence in South Africa targeting foreigners including Nigerians threatens to dominate the talks.
Buhari is expected to use the state visit to discuss the welfare of Nigerians, and find common grounds for building harmonious relations with the host country.
The Nigerian president will address a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa to listen to their experiences and assure them that the government is working to protect them.
In related news, the presidency in Nigeria on Tuesday dismissed reports that president Buhari’s government is seeking to make a constitutional amendment that will allow him to seek a third term.
‘‘There are NO circumstances, nor set of circumstances, under which President Buhari may seek to amend the Constitution regarding the two-term term limit on holding office as President,’‘ read a part of the statement posted by the presidency on social networking site, Twitter.