16 March 2017

Nigeria, South Africa Denounce Xenophobia, Move to Bolster Relations

Abuja — Both the Nigerian and South African Governments have denounced any form of criminality regardless of whom it is targeted at, especially in view of prevailing global economic situation which has resulted in the competition for scarce resources.

The formal denouncement wednesday was the fallout of a meeting of high level delegations of lawmakers from parliament of the Republic of South Africa and the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria held at the South African parliament in Cape Town.

The parties had met to discuss matters of mutual interest and means to consolidate diplomatic relations between the two legislatures.

The delegations from the two sister legislative bodies were led by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Lechesa Tsenoli, and his Nigerian counterpart, the leader of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Hon. Feni Gbaja biamila.

The crucial meeting followed recent tensions between certain members of some communities and some foreign nationals in South Africa, a matter which featured prominently in the discussion particularly with regards to its impact on Nigerian nationals concerned.

The deliberations was characterised by frank, robust but cordial engagement, accordingly to joint statement signed by spokesperson of South African Parliament, Moloto Mothapo, and his Nigerian counterpart, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.

Notably, the parties admitted that both legislative institutions had not paid sufficient attention to strengthening diplomatic relationships at the legislature level to forestall recent and previous unfortunate clashes between local and foreign nationals that affected Nigerian nationals, particularly the Nigerian businesses.

Nevertheless, both institutions committed to work collaboratively to continuously bolster existing relations and present a united front particularly in the context of economic challenges and rising global competition.

They also agreed to further engage on issues of mutual interest within the ambit of their constitutional powers.

Both countries had enjoyed close diplomatic relations bound by strong history. The people of Nigeria provided unwavering support and solidarity to the people of South Africa to unseat the last bastion of colonialism in Africa and usher in freedom and democracy.

Last year, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa was invited to address the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2013 the then President of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan addressed the joint sitting the South African Parliament, an indication of the strong ties enjoyed by the two countries.

It was recognised that South Africans are generally a welcoming people, a fact that is evidenced by a great number of South African communities which continue to live side by side and peacefully with their foreign counterparts.

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