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Nigeria will strengthen ties with South Africa through culture,Tourism – FG

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Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Thursday said Nigeria will continue to explore culture and tourism as veritable platforms to strengthen its ties with South Africa.

“A few years back, we did actually put in motion the machinery for cultural exchanges between Nigeria and South Africa and we are still working on it,” Mohammed said in a meeting with the South African Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, in Lagos on Thursday.

“Because we believe that a lot of issues can be resolved when we bring to South Africa our very popular artistes because I am told that a few Nigerian musicians are extremely popular in South Africa and vice versa.”

This is coming in the wake of the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerian in South Africa. In early September fresh outbursts of violence against foreigners erupted in parts of South Africa.

Over a dozen people were killed when mobs torched and looted shops and destroyed cars in places such as Johannesburg and Pretoria.

About 600 Nigerians returned from South Africa after xenophobic violence in Johannesburg.

South African police thereafter said it arrested 700 people for what it called an act of criminality and not anti-foreigner attack.

But Mohammed said if Nigeria and South Africa can come together to strengthen their relationship ties through tourism.  This, he said, will inspire the citizens of both nations to continue to work harmoniously and live in peace.

“In the last half an hour or so, we discussed and we have really seen that more things unite us than those that divide us and we have resolved, at least at the level of the leadership,” Mohammed said.

“To ensure that the good ties between Nigeria and South Africa continue and also by example inspire our people to continue to work together and live as brothers and sisters, which they have done for many years,” he said.

The Kubayi-Ngubane, however, agreed with the minister that there is a need for cultural exchanges between the citizens of the two countries as a deliberate policy to strengthen the bond between them.

She said her visit to Nigeria is to reinstate her country’s commitment to the discussions held between President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Muhammadu Buhari in South Africa, following the xenophobic attack.

She said the President of South Africa had appointed former President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete and former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano to work with South African communities with a view to finding lasting solutions to the crisis.

Kubayi-Ngubane also advised that Nigerians to be wary of #fakenews, which is “deliberately published to exacerbate the crisis in South Africa.”

“One of the issues that we reiterated was that we need to be careful of the fake news sometimes that exacerbate what is not real and what is not true and that does not necessarily mean that we are abdicating our responsibilities as leaders,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.

“Where things have happened wrong, we take responsibility as leaders but what we are saying to our citizens in the two countries is that we need to be careful of #fakenews. Get the real story, verify the information before we take things out of context,” she said.


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