Speaking in Abuja when Senator Shehu Sani, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs paid him a visit, the South African Government, assured that it will continue to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to xenophobic attack of Nigerians in South Africa.
The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, who gave the assurance on Thursday, condemned recent attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians in South Africa, and said there was need for the two countries to work together to bring an end to the problem.
According to him, it is important for Nigeria and South Africa to bring strategists to discuss the issues at stake to find appropriate solution.
He said; “We will look for ways to contain the tension and come up with measures to encourage interaction between the two countries and other African nations. South Africa cannot stay as an island; instead, it will continue to work toward peace building and integration.”
The high commissioner who disclosed that the South African Government had always pushed for respect for human rights, stressing that there was no justification for the attacks, urged foreigners to always abide by the laws of the countries where they live.
He said there were concerns among South Africans that a few foreigners, including Nigerians, were involved in drug peddling. “We are not condoning violence, but it will be wrong not to reflect the concerns of South Africans, especially with regard to drug trafficking.
“We must not look at one side even though we are not condoning it. People must not take laws into their hands. When people go to other countries, they must respect the laws of the country,” he said.
He explained that a few foreigners involved in drug trafficking and other crimes were giving false impression of other people in South Africa. “In spite of this, the South African Government had benefited immensely from the economic activities of foreigners.
“There are foreigners, including many Nigerians that are law abiding and are contributing to the economic development of South Africa. However, there are few people who give wrong impression of foreigners.”
Earlier, Sani had expressed concern over recurring xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. He said it would portray the continent in bad light if allowed to continue, adding that it was time for major stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem.
He said “Nigeria’s relationship with South Africa dates back to the time of Apartheid. Nigeria is a major component in the struggle against apartheid.
“Should these attacks continue, relationship between the two countries might be weakened. The problem is a concern to the whole of Africa because the two countries are respected global players.”
Sani also expressed concern that the attacks were perpetrated by a few persons whose actions did not reflect the position of the South African Government, in view of its bilateral relations with Nigeria.