Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Thursday said the Federal Government is ready to evacuate Nigerians willing to leave South Africa and come back home.
Mohammed spoke in Abuja at a news conference, saying that the Federal Government would leave nothing to chance to protect Nigerian citizens anywhere around the world, including South Africa where they had been subjected to repeated xenophobic attacks, with terrible consequences that included loss of lives and property.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had already dispatched a special envoy to meet with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, while Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey has summoned the South African High
Commissioner to Nigeria.
“Of course you are aware that Nigeria is recalling its High Commissioner to South Africa, in addition to boycotting the World Economic Forum on Africa taking place in South Africa. Government is also ready to evacuate Nigerians willing to return home from South Africa, in addition to other measures being considered to decisively tackle this cankerworm of xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.
The minister appealed to Nigerians who were angered by the xenophobic attacks on their compatriots in South Africa not to engage in reprisal attacks, because such attacks hurt Nigerians working in such places more.
“We also want Nigerians to know that wrong videos and disinformation are being circulated on social media to inflame passion and distort the plight of Nigerians in South Africa. Nigerians should be wary of the purveyors of these wrong videos.
“We strongly warn hoodlums who may wish to hide under the peaceful protests by Nigerians to loot, maim
and kill that the security agencies will apprehend and bring them to justice. And to opinion leaders, we ask that they be guarded in their comments,” he added.
“The purpose of this press conference is to appeal to Nigerians, who are justifiably angered by the attacks on their compatriots in South Africa, not to resort to self help by carrying out reprisal attacks against South African businesses in Nigeria; to alert Nigerians to the fact that some unscrupulous people are engaging in disinformation to inflame passion by using fake news and videos of non-related attacks; to very strongly warn the naysayers and hoodlums who might want to capitalise on the widespread disenchantment and anger of Nigerians over the attacks in South Africa to foment mayhem, and to appeal to Nigerians, especially opinion leaders, not to allow raw emotions to guide their response to the attacks,” he said.