By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja – President Muhamadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa endorsed the establishment of an Early Warning Mechanism as a preventative and monitoring platform against the reoccurrence of attacks.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this known in a joint commique issued in Pretoria following the State visit of President Buhari to South Africa.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the visit which was on the invitation of Ramaphosa also coincides with the inaugural session of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa.
In the communique, both Presidents condemned the recent violent incidents and destruction of property and reiterated their call for heightened law enforcement.
They stressed the importance of high level engagements on this unfortunate phenomenon as demonstrated by the reciprocal dispatch of Special Envoys by both countries.
To this regard, the two Presidents endorsed and directed the two Foreign Ministers of both countries to give practical expression to the Early Warning Mechanism to be used as a preventative and monitoring platform.
President Ramaphosa briefed President Buhari on the recent incidents of violence in South Africa affecting foreign nationals, alluding that these unfortunate incidents were not consistent with the values and principles underpinning South Africa’s constitutional democracy.
“Ramaphosa also dispelled the notion that incidents of violence affecting foreign nationals were targeted at Nigerian nationals, as other foreign nationals and indeed South Africans were affected as well.
“He assured Buhari that the South African Government was fully in control of the situation and several interventions including engagements with diplomatic community and émigré communities, security operations, policy and legislation reviews were underway.
“Both Presidents strongly condemned the attacks against foreign nationals including Nigerians in South Africa and the reprisal actions against South Africans and their interests in Nigeria, expressing strong commitment to stop a recurrence.
“Which they said undermine the vision of a strong and prosperous Africa that the two countries have for the continent.
“The two Presidents further endorsed the reestablishment of the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria consular Forum to meet twice a year”, the communiqué stated.
Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa further reviewed a wide range of bilateral, continental and global issues of common interest.
They acknowledged the historical and strategic relations that exist between the two countries, and the need to further strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation.
Both Presidents noted with satisfaction the continued exchange of high level visits and meetings between the two countries, to which regard, they recalled the successful working visit of President Ramaphosa to Nigeria in July 2018.
They recalled that during the visit, both Heads of State reaffirmed their collective desire and commitment to enhance political, economic and social relations between the two countries.
“They both appreciated the vast nature of the two countries’ bilateral cooperation which covers, amongst others; Trade and Investment, Energy, Mining, Defence and Security issues, Justice, Police, Immigration, Tourism, Environment, Education, transport as well as Science and Technology.
“In this regard, the two Presidents took note of the thirty two (32) signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).
“And committed themselves to ensuring that those which are in force are fully implemented while those which are not yet in force are to be revived for implementation.
Also contained in the Communique, Buhari and Ramaphosa noted with great satisfaction the economic cooperation between the two Republics and welcomed the steps to increase trade volumes as well as private sector investments.
They welcomed the important role of the Business Forum, which took place on the margins of the State Visit.
Both Presidents further welcomed the decision to establish a Joint Ministerial Advisory Council on Industry, Trade and Investment which the inauguration meeting of the Council would hold not later than April 2020, in Abuja.
They explained that the Council is expected to serve as a critical vehicle in facilitating and promoting private sector participation in the economies of both countries.
Both leaders took note of the significant footprint of South African businesses operating in Nigeria in sectors such as telecommunications, mining, aviation, banking and finance, retail, property, entertainment and fast foods industries.
They also noted and welcomed the business activities of Nigeria’s small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as the investment of Dangote Sephaku Cement in South Africa.
They exchanged views on the current political, economic and security situation in their respective regions, expressing grave concern on the ongoing instability, terrorism and extremism in some of the countries on the Continent.
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to working together in pursuit of sustainable peace and economic development on the continent in the context of AU Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. (NAN)