Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Friday explained reasons why Nigeria cannot sever diplomatic relationship with South Africa despite Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.
Onyeama, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Diaspora disclosed that such action would not be in the interest of the nation, disclosing that currently, there were over 800, 000 Nigerians legally living in the South African country.
According to him, any attempt by the country to cut diplomatic relationship with South Africa would greatly affect Nigerians and their huge investment there, adding that special envoys dispatched to Johannesburg by President Muhammadu Buhari would return to Nigeria on Saturday (tomorrow ).
The minister explained that their report would guide the Nigerian leader to take a decisive action in the overall interest of the country, saying that Nigeria would consider other options apart from diplomatic ties severance, to resolve the unfortunate development.
“We are not thinking to the stage of diplomatic ties called off. There are various options. We are not by any means at a stage where we are breaking diplomatic relations with South Africa. We just met with the senate committee to review the situation with regards to South Africa and we looked at all the possible options we analysed the possible causes and agreed on a road map going forward.
“Part of that road map on the executive side Mr. President has dispatched a special envoy to South Africa who would be holding discussion with the South African government at the very highest level. He (leader of the envoy) should be back tomorrow (Saturday), that will now give the government the basis for further action. In the mean time, if the government is very much on top of the situation,” he told newsmen after meeting with the Senate Committee led by Senator Bashir Ajibola.
“We know for a fact that no Nigerian life has been lost so we are extremely concern now to ensure that there will be adequate compensation for property that have been damaged. We know that a Nigerian Airline is putting a plane at the disposal of most Nigerians that wish to take the opportunity to leave South Africa, this is purely voluntary, but we are particularly determined to particularly make sure that this crisis does not re-occur,” he added in a report by PUNCH.