President Muhammadu Buhari has extolled the virtues of Nigerians living in South Africa, adding that they must be good ambassadors of Nigeria.
The president, who made this call at a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa at the end of the 9th Session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission, NSABNC, noted that Nigerians in South Africa represent some of the best human asset that Nigeria has.
A statement signed by Idowu Jokpeyibo, Media Officer in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying: “With your education and exposure to the world, you are at the cutting edge of technology. I urge you to use your resources, skills and enterprising spirits to help the development of Nigeria.”
He called on them to see themselves as Ambassadors and the face of new Nigeria to the world wherever they are, as people would make judgments on Nigeria based on their comportment and actions.
The President charged them to strive for excellence and be the best in whatever legitimate engagements they embark upon. He saw the recent acts of xenophobic uprisings attacks on foreign fellow black Africans in South Africa as an embarrassment to the continent.
He said the government was disturbed by the unfortunate events and has taken actions and measures to address the issue to prevent its re-occurrence.
“During my visit here, we have discussed these attacks on foreigners and Nigerians, the authorities have expressed their regrets and apologies over the incident and have resolved to take necessary steps to end this ugly trend in the interest of our relationship,” he added.
While commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives during the attacks, President Buhari called on Nigerians in South Africa to be law-abiding and to respect constituted authorities.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigeria and South Africa have come a long way and should be the engine and backbone for the development of the Continent, adding that the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted responsibility for the attacks on Nigerians and other African nationalities, and promised to prevent re-occurrence of such incidence.
In his welcome remarks, the Nigeria High Commissioner to South Africa, Kabiru Bala said there was need for the two countries to meet annually to ensure the implementation of the agreements signed by both countries to prevent such ugly incidence in the nearest future.
The President of Nigerian Citizen Association, South Africa (NICASA), Ben Okoli in his contribution, commended the Federal Government efforts and support during the xenophobic attack. He said the visit of the President has further boosted their confidence and trust in the government’s resolve to ensure the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians living in South Africa.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite in his reaction after the town hall meeting, said the agreement reached at the just-concluded 9th Session of the NSABNCB will open a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries that will bring about peace and tranquility.