Nigeria won’t retaliate xenophobic attacks – Foreign affairs minister

Nigeria has no plan to retaliate the xenophobic attacks directed at its citizens in South Africa because two wrongs do not make right, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has said.

Speaking to State House correspondents after attending an event with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, he affirmed that the federal government is exploring the possibility of sending security personnel to work with the South Africa security forces to protect Nigerians.

Asked if there would be any reciprocity in the way the South Africans have treated Nigerians, he said: “We don’t believe that two wrongs make right. I think in terms of revenge on those kinds of attacks is not what we are looking forward to.

“The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation, that they are equally exasperated by the whole event.

“We believe that with that goodwill we may be able to work together to put in place these mechanisms that would make a difference.”

Onyeama noted that Nigeria has strongly protested the acts to the South African government, which he said had assured that something would be done to halt the attacks.

He added: “We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference, one with regard to compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.”

On ways to improve protective measures for Nigerians, the Minister state: “We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents deploying them initially in the Nigerian High Commission to work closely with the South African police force.

“We believe that would be a very important process to address and preempt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.

“So you will have some certain number of Nigeria security people trying to work with the South African police force.”

On what to expect from the mission of the special envoy being dispatched to South Africa by President Buhari, the Foreign Minister said: “It is just those two key issues, the compensation payment and what security mechanism be put in place to make sure that this kind of attacks does not recur.

“We need to have a viable mechanism in place. Like I have said, one of the possibilities that we are proposing is to have some Nigerian security operatives working with the South African police and attached to the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.”

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