The xenophobic attacks in South Africa against African immigrants has led to wide outrage all over social media. However, Nigerians were not impressed by the response of their leaders who did not show any signs of taking any strong diplomatic actions.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo condemned the xenophobic attacks and told press, “The lives and livelihood of Nigerians living in South Africa is once again being destroyed with such wantonness and with such carelessness and recklessness.” Prof. Osinbajo went on to say, “We certainly intend to take this up with the authorities in South Africa and to ensure that this sort of thing does not repeat itself”.
Vice President Osinbajo said that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa are at odds with the sacrifices made by the founding fathers of the modern nation.
Osinbajo through his Twitter account added that the, “The recent attacks in South Africa are condemnable. It is sad and very unfortunate that the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians living in South Africa, are once again being destroyed with such wantonness carelessness and recklessness”.
“Nigeria and Nigerians invested a great deal in the pulling down of apartheid. These acts of bigotry are entirely contrary to the very ideals that all the great South African leaders including the present President fought for, and for which many gave their lives”.
“Mr. President [Buhari] has already spoken about this. We will take this up with the authorities in South Africa in to ensure that this sort of thing does not repeat itself. It is absolutely unacceptable”.
“We will take all actions necessary for the protection of our citizens everywhere in the world. We are currently in consultation with the South African government on the urgent need to put in place measures to end these acts of violence against our people”.
President Buhari sends Special Envoy to South Africa
While no specific actions have been taken except the announcement of a special envoy to South Africa, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s response has been deemed slow and discouraging. In a tweet, President Buhari said, “I am sending a Special Envoy to President Ramaphosa to share our deep concern about the security of Nigerian lives and property in South Africa, and to ensure that the South African Government is doing everything within its power in this regard”.
President Buhari is set to visit South Africa and meet with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa next month. According to tweets by the Nigerian Presidency, part of what will be on top of the agenda is the guarantee for the safety of all Nigerians in South Africa.
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to express the displeasure of Nigerians on the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Nigerians have however wished for stronger diplomatic actions to be taken. The dilly dallying of Nigeria’s leaders has been criticized and condemned as disappointing by Nigerians.