The Nigerian government has called on the African Union and the South African government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans within South African borders.
The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the call Monday amid reports of renewed violence against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
The Nigerian Community in South Africa led by Ikechukwu Anyene confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
Mr. Anyene said the union had reported the incident to the Nigerian mission and South African police.
“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans,” Mr. Anyene said.
“One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack.
“Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment,” he said.
Mr. Anyene said the union had informed Nigerians in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of renewed xenophobic attacks.
According to him, the union received information that there will be xenophobic attacks against foreigners on February 22 and February 23.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa described the attacks as an “unnecessary setback”.
She advised Nigerians to be extra cautious as it looks like South African government seems to have no control over these attacks.
The SSA, however, urged restraint on the part of Nigerians and warned that further attacks without any reprimand may have dire consequences.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said the attention of the AU was being called because of reports of planned attacks against foreigners on February 22 and February 23.
“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” she said.
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa had two weeks ago met with South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, on the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
Mr. Aaron-Mnguni promised that the South African government was investigating the matter.
“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed,” this is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said.