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Nigeria to demand compensation for victims of xenophobia in South Africa


The Nigerian government Tuesday said the special envoys sent to South Africa by President Muhammadu Buhari will among others demand a compensation payment for Nigerians who have suffered loss in the latest waves of attacks on businesses owned by foreigners.

South African police said five persons have been killed in the violence.

Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Geoffery Onyeama, speaking to journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, said Nigeria had made two major demands from the South African government.

“It is just those two key issues, the compensation payment and what security mechanism be put in place to make sure that these kinds of attacks do not recur,” the minister said.

The businesses of many Nigerians and other immigrants in South Africa have been destroyed, looted or burnt in the past few days.

Before the latest incident, many Nigerians have also been killed in suspected xenophobic attacks by South Africans.

The ongoing spate of violence in South Africa has seen the destruction of more than 50 mainly foreign-owned shops and business premises.

South African police minister Bheki Cele dismissed reports the ongoing attacks were xenophobic.

“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” he told reporters on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to South Africa on Tuesday to “express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens”.

In a statement, the country’s high commission in South Africa described the situation as “anarchy”.

The government alleges that Nigerian-owned businesses were targeted in Johannesburg and it has called on Nigerians to come forward to report what has happened to them.

Although South Africa’s police minister and the high commissioner to Nigeria said the attacks were acts of criminality, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that the attackers targeted businesses owned by foreigners.

Ramaphosa said in a video posted to Twitter that attacks on ” “foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa.”

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