Journalism of Courage

Xenophobia : Pres. Buhari Off to South Africa

Following reported months of xenophobic violence in South Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari will on Wednesday depart Abuja for a three-day state visit to the country.

He is expected to discuss the welfare of Nigerians living in South Africa as hundreds of Nigerians have been evacuated back to the country in September by Peace Airline.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had in early September invited Buhari  following xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in his country.

Accompanying Buhari on the trip are three governors, seven ministers and some security chiefs.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and  Publicity),Malam Garba Shehu, said the two leaders would during the visit find “common grounds for building a harmonious relationship’’.

“The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians and the exchange of visits by Special Envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.

“While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of Nigerian government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.

“President Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report will be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.

“The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts,’’ Garba said.

Governors Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano ), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and David Umahi (Ebonyi), Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj.- Gen. Bashir Magashi (retired), Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola are on the delegation.

Others are Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.

Also on the trip are National Security Adviser, Maj.- Gen. Babagana Monguno (retired), Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar. The President is expected to return to Abuja on Friday.

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