Foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama says Nigeria could have declared war with South Africa over the recent xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals, including Nigerians living in that country.
Onyeama said the government opted for dialogue, calling it the best path to toe because the crisis was not sponsored by the South African government.
The minister was speaking when he met with the Nigerians resident in South Africa at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria.
He said, "When this issue came up, we look at the options before us, we could have declare war with South Africa, we could have recalled our ambassador, we could have nationalized South African companies in Nigeria, we could have even asked Nigerians in South Africa to come back home and we also have the option of dialogue.
"But we opted for the last, which is to engage them in discussion to find a lasting solution to the problem. It may not be the right decision but I believe it could be a win-win situation. I do not believe the South African Government is xenophobic or even the large number of South Africans, so I believe we can achieve a win-win situation here."
Onyeama assured that the government has put machinery in place within the Early Warning Unit mechanism that would guarantee payment of compensation by the South African Government.
Also speaking, Interior Minister, Abdul-Rahman Dambazzau said the ministry is considering extending the expiration period of Nigerian passport from five to ten years.