‘Why Nigeria chose to dialogue with South Africa on xenophobic attacks’
The Federal Government went for dialogue with South Africa over the recent xenophobic attacks because it was firmly convinced that it was the best option considering the circumstances.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, discountenanced allegations of weakness on the part of government.He also said there were reasonable grounds to believe that the crisis against foreign nationals living in South Africa, including Nigerians, who were the major victims of the attacks was not sponsored by the South African government.
Onyeama said these yesterday at a meeting of representatives of Nigerian professionals and residents in that country, including officials of the Nigerian High Commission held in Pretoria.
The meeting, which had in attendance, the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, was aimed at intimating them of the outcome of bilateral meeting between Nigeria and South Africa and also afford Nigerians narrate their experiences.
The minister recalled that various moves had been made by the Nigerian government, which had eventually yielded the South African Government’s commitment to the enthronement of peace as well as safety of Nigerians and their businesses.
He assured that the issue of compensation was not foreclosed, as the government has put machinery in place within the Early Warning Unit (EWU) mechanism that would guarantee payment of compensation by the South African Government.
He called on all Nigerians who had suffered loss due to xenophobia before and in the recent attacks, to submit their documents to the president of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene, who is a member of the EWU for collation.
Participants expressed confidence that the EWU mechanism has the potentials of ending xenophobia in South Africa and urged governments to demonstrate truth commitment to its success.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday led other members to an inter-parliamentary session with their counterparts in South Africa over the xenophobic attacks.
A statement by the media aide to the House leader, Mr. Wasiu Smart Olarenwaju said the lawmakers were received by the Deputy Speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly, Mr. Lechesa Tsenoli, who led other members of South African parliament into the session.
Gbajabiamila re-echoed the disappointment of the Nigeria’s National Assembly on the recurring attacks on Nigerians by their hosts and considered it necessary for the two parliaments to introduce legislative diplomacy that will combat what he considered “irritants” impeding the harmonious relationship between Nigerians and South Africans.
Responding, Tsenoli also expressed the concerns of South African parliament on the relationship between citizens of both countries and promised to partner with the Nigerian parliament to raise legislations that will curb criminality in both countries.