Nigerian president confirms SA visit next month despite xenophobic attacks

07 September 2019 - 19:58 By QAANITAH HUNTER
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. File photo
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. File photo
Image: Supplied

Despite a diplomatic uproar this week following an eruption of xenophobic violence, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed that he will undertake a state visit to South Africa next month.

In a statement released on Saturday afternoon, the presidency said Ramaphosa held discussions with Buhari’s envoy, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, on Friday.

“In yesterday’s discussion, the special envoy conveyed President Buhari’s concern at recent events in South Africa, in the context of the strong and cordial relations that characterise the interaction between the two countries,” presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said.

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She said the meeting with the envoy followed a recent meeting between Ramaphosa and Buhari in Yokohama, Japan, on the sidelines of the Summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

“Nigeria stands ready to assist South Africa in establishing the root causes of and developing sustainable solutions to the challenges concerned,” Diko said.

She added: “President Buhari has undertaken that where challenges emerge in Nigeria, the Nigerian government will act against lawlessness and the targeting of South African assets in Nigeria”.

There were retaliatory attacks against South African businesses in Nigeria following xenophobic violence across SA earlier this week. South Africa’s high commission in Abuja was shut as a result.

Earlier this week, government confirmed that no Nigerians had been killed in the recent violence.

Of the 10 people killed as a result of the violence at the time of the meeting, two were foreigners and eight were South African. The death toll has since risen to 11.