The federal government of Nigeria has resolved to explore and adopt diplomatic measures to ensure the safety of its citizens and protect their properties in South Africa.
The diplomatic measures would include the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman made the disclosure on Thursday while addressing newsmen at a meeting between the Ministry and Chairman, Senate committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mohammed Bulkachuwa at the national assembly complex, Abuja.
The meeting at the instance of the Senate Committee on Foreign yesterday was for the Foreign Affairs Ministry to update the Committee on the status of its handling of the issues of the attacks being visited on Nigerians in South Africa.
Ambassador Mustapha who represented the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said President Muhammadu Buhari
would be meeting with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa in October for a bilateral trade agreement, where the agreement to forestall future attacks against Nigerians resident in South African would be concretized.
According to him, part of the proactive measures was to develop early warning system using the framework of the government of South Africa and Nigeria for deterrence and rapid response, in the event of future occurrence.
He said: “Now we are trying to enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between us and South Africa to forestall such attacks in the future. Prior before the incident, our president has been invited to South Africa.
At the coming October 1 meeting, the MOU will be unveiled. The essence is to determine what to look up to if such happen in the future, the documentation for understanding on how such will be remedied.
” When such happens to Nigerian citizen, what kind of remedy should we expect from the South African government. ?”
Ambassador Suleiman who restated the federal government determination to protect its citizens, wherever they were resident in any part of the globe, said about 800 Nigerians in South Africa have since signified interest in the ongoing voluntary evacuation from South Africa, just as he commended the gesture of the Chairman/ Chief Executive of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, whose airline has been giving free flights to Nigerians anxious to flee South Africa.
“Our concern is the safety of Nigerians, their lives and property wherever they are. Nigerians wherever they are, they are very industrious and hardworking. Unfortunately, whenever such incidence happens, they are the first victim.”
Senator Bulkachuwa agreed with newsmen that a thriving economy would serve as a disincentive to the emigration of Nigerians to other countries, but submitted that it was not a sufficient condition for the upsurge in the exit from Nigeria.
“We can only suggest ways on how to improve our economy, maybe Nigerians will learn to stay at home. But let me say this, there is no country in the world where its citizens keep to themselves, even China. There is no way that Nigerians will stay within Nigeria. No government will compel its citizens to stay indoor. “