Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said the recent wave of violent attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa was an embarrassment to the continent, as he wrapped up a state visit, reported Reuters.
“The recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa,” Mr. Buhari said in a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa. “It was an embarrassment to the continent.”
The president said the Nigerian government has taken actions to address the issue and ensure that such attacks do not repeat in future.
“As a government, we are quite disturbed by these very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their re-occurrence with the South African government,” Mr. Buhari said.
Last month, mobs attacked foreign-owned properties in and around Johannesburg. The violent attacks led to the death of at least 10 people, and injured dozens triggering anger at home and abroad. In revenge attacks, some South African businesses in Nigeria were forced to close shop temporarily. Soon after the attacks, the Nigerian president ordered for immediate evacuation of Nigerians who wanted to return home. Around 600 people were repatriated.
During his tour, President Buhari met his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday. The two leaders regretted the violent attacks and Nigerian’s retaliation against South African businesses. They instead pledged to deepen trade and commercial ties between the two countries.
The Nigerian president called for peace at the town hall meeting.
“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,” he said. “Let us therefore give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence.”