President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to work with the South African authorities to "find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities" in South Africa.
This was disclosed by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, who on Monday provided details of the discussion between Ahmed Rufai and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mr Rufai, head of the National Intelligence Agency, was Mr Buhari's special envoy to South Africa on the xenophobic attacks in the country.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the South African government narrated what transpired between Mr Rufai and Mr Ramaphosa.
In a statement on Monday, President Buhari's spokesperson, Femi Adesina, narrated a similar discussion as explained by the South African authorities.
Mr Adesina said Mr Rufai has returned and has briefed the Nigerian president on his discussion with the South African leader.
He said the envoy conveyed "the deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa."
"The Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities," Mr Adesina said.
Allegations that some Nigerians are engaged in criminal activities in South Africa has been used by many South Africans to justify the xenophobic attacks.
Although no Nigerian fatality has been announced, businesses owned by Nigerians have been destroyed in South Africa.
At least 11 people including non-South Africans have been killed in the xenophobic attacks.
In his statement, Mr Adesina also said that Mr Buhari has "given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home."
Read the full statement by Mr Adesina below.
XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS: PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES REPORT OF SPECIAL ENVOY TO SOUTH AFRICA, DIRECTS ON NEXT STEPS
In the wake of the xenophobic attacks by South Africans against other Africans including Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari sent Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (DGNIA) as his Special Envoy to South Africa, to convey a Special Message to his counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Special Envoy, who was in Pretoria from Thursday, 5th to Saturday, 7th September 2019 conveyed: · The deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.
· President Buhari stressed the need for South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
· President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent, if nothing is done to stop it.
· The Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities, and to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general, against all forms of attacks including xenophobia.
· President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian Government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.
· On his part, President Ramaphosa agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts, which undermine not only the country's image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
· President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to do everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.
· The Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign emigrants in general and Nigerians in particular. They agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.
· President Buhari has taken note of the report and instructed the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs to continue to engage with appropriate Authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take.
· President Buhari has also given instruction for the immediate voluntary evacuation of all Nigerians who are willing to return home.