18 March 2017

Nigeria: Xenophobia - Ex-South African President, Mbeki, Meets Nigerian Lawmakers

Photo: The Guardian
(file photo).

As part of efforts to bring lasting solution to recurring xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, a delegation from the House of Representatives has met a former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki.

The delegation led by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, was received by Mr. Mbeki at his residence in Johannesburg.

The meeting, which was held behind closed-doors, lasted for two hours with both sides addressing the media afterwards.

"I had a meeting with the delegation of members of parliament from Nigeria and that is very pleasing indeed when I heard the news that delegation was coming," Mr. Mbeki said. "It was important that they should come to interact with all these layers of South African society to address these particular matter which have been raised that what are the South Africans doing killing and beating up other Africans."

"I am happy to hear that they had interactions with parliament (South Africa's) and know that we are a civil society I also hope that they will interact with the government so that we can cripple this matter to end it," he added.

Mr. Gbajabiamila also spoke about the adoption of legislative diplomacy by both parliaments.

"As you are aware, we felt it was time that the parliament got in touch as you are aware we have been playing a less than proactive role in foreign relations over the years as parliamentarians so we just thought we should try something different in terms of a diplomatic approach," he said. "We adopted what is known, around the world, as legislative or parliamentary diplomacy, by engaging the South African parliament, engaging the stakeholders."

"We just engaged with the former president Thabo Mbeki, whose voice is still very loud here. In addition, we decided to do some kind of fact finding to see what can be done to arrest the situation and a reoccurrence of it," Mr. Gbajabiamila added.

The House of Representatives delegation which consist of the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Nnena Ukeje-Elendu; her counterpart of Special Duties, Nasir Zangon-Daura; Deputy Chairman Committee on Diaspora , Shehu Musa; Sadiq Ibrahim, and Henry Nwawuba as members.

The delegation had earlier met with members of South African parliament, and the Nigeria-South African business community and Nigerians living in South Africa on Saturday.

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