Abuja – The Federal Government on Wednesday demanded compensation for Nigerians whose properties were destroyed in the xenophobic violence that took place at the weekend in South Africa.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, who stated this in Abuja at a news conference on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, said Nigerian lives should be protected.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigerian buildings, businesses and places of worship worth millions of dollars were reportedly destroyed during the attacks in Pretoria West, South Africa on Feb. 18.
Onyeama who said that the Federal Government had taken some measures to put a stop to the incessant attacks on Nigerians in that country, expressed worry on the alleged involvement of security agency in the violence.
“We are doing a lot, we are engaging with the South African Government; we have summoned the South African High Commissioner Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni to the ministry over the issue.
“One of the things that were being said was that South Africa Police are accomplice in some of the attacks, not just on Nigerians but other nationals.
“ We have communicated our deep concern to the South African Government if that is the case on this allegation, steps should be taken to ensure that the situation does not happen again.’’
According to him, Nigeria is also concerned about some inflammatory statements by South African politicians which can incite violence.
“This was brought to the attention of the South African Authority, and this has to stop.
“Security should be provided for Nigerians and that there has to be compensation for the victims.
“There are no lives lost, but there were injuries and damages, and we certainly expect that justice would be done; the perpetrators should also be brought to book,” he said.
Onyeama said the South African Government itself did not condone the attacks and had been doing everything to ensure that its citizen understand the role Nigeria played during their apartheid struggles
“The government of South Africa does not condone those actions, they have assured us that they are taking a number of measures to state again the friendship and brotherliness toward Nigeria.
“They have organised events to show what Nigeria did during their apartheid struggles.
“South Africa has been very keen to show determination to remind their people as a way of dousing the sensing of xenophobia,” he said.