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Repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is not a permanent solution – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo Monday said the repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is not a permanent solution but a palliative action.

“Repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution,” Obasanjo said in a letter written to the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, in South Africa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

“At best it is palliative.”

The first batch of 187 Nigerians in South Africa returned to Nigeria on Wednesday following the latest wave of xenophobic violence and attacks in South Africa. More than 12 people were killed, and South Africa police said more than 700 people have been arrested.

The Nigerian government said more than 600 of Nigerians are expected to be repatriated courtesy of a private Nigerian airline Air Peace which volunteered to fly people for free back to Lagos.

There have also been reprisal responses from Nigerians – attacking South African affiliated companies in Nigerians- and the Nigerian government which recalled its South Africa ambassador and also boycotted the World Economic Forum Africa hosted in Cape Town last week.

The former president, however, said there is a need for mutual understanding between the two countries in other to eradicate the hurt the attacks might have created.

He said revenge is not the desirable solution, therefore “Nigeria and South Africa must stand together to champion African cause and to jointly shepherd African development, unity, cooperation, security, and progress to make the 21st century Africa’s century”.

He also suggested that South Africa should send emissaries to the countries concerned to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation, and binding the wound to promote unity, concord, and brotherhood in Africa.

South African special envoys are currently in Nigeria to meet President Muhammadu Buhari. The team led by Jeff Radebe apologised on behalf of the South African government to Nigeria over the attacks.


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