Ramaphosa meets Buhari over rising tension

Thursday July 12 2018

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Villa in Abuja. Photo | MOHAMMED MOMOH 


President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied that Nigerians were the only foreigners targeted by South African killer gangs.

President Ramaphosa declared in Abuja that the killings were acts of criminality which also targeted other foreign nationals.

Tensions between Abuja and South Africa have heightened in the recent months in the wake of fresh killing of Nigerians in the rainbow nation.

President Ramaphosa said after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Wednesday that the killings were caused by high level of unemployment among the youth.

He also attributed them to other social factors emanating from long apartheid misrule.

“These are acts of criminality. When we were involved in our struggle, we said the South Africa that we are fighting for is the South Africa which will regard everyone who lives in South Africa on the basis of equality, respect for human rights.

“And we said that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it; so the Nigerians who are in South Africa are also part of our community."

The president acknowledged that there were a lot of incidents in his country where foreign nationals had lost their lives in attacks.

“I want to say it here right now that South Africans do not have any form of negative disposition or hatred toward Nigerians and Nigerians and South Africans in a number of places of our country live side by side.

“They cooperate very well and some are in the corporate structures of our various countries and some are traders and some do a whole number of things," he said.

President Buhari's Foreign Affairs and Diaspora assistant Abike Dabiri-Erewa expressed worry over the killing of Nigerians in South Africa, especially the July 6 incident, describing it as most unfortunate.

The Nigeria Mission in South Africa on Sunday confirmed the killing of Mr Ozumba Tochukwu-Lawrence, by an unknown gunman.

The Nigeria Consulate-General in South Africa said the incident occurred at 10 Koppe, Middleburg, Mpumalanga, on July 6, bringing to 117 Nigerians extra-judicially killed in South Africa between 2016 and 2018.

The mission said that Mr Lawrence was shot six times by his assailant and died before reaching hospital.

Ms Dabiri-Erewa explained that before the latest incident, there was the case of Mr ThankGod Okoro, who was shot dead in Hamburg, Florida West Rand, Johannesburg, on April 9, by the South African police

There was also the killing of Mr Clement Nwaogu in April, a father of two, who was burnt to death by his assailant.

These wanton killings of Nigerians in South Africa had sparked a number of protests there.