•Sets up early warning centre
Nigeria will not retaliate against South Africa or any other country over xenophobic attacks by their nationals against Nigerians living in those countries.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed this at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, in Abuja, yesterday.
Nigerians living in South Africa have been attacked up to four times since February 5, 2017, while those living in India suffered similar attack on March 27, 2017, over the death of an Indian student.
“It has not been something that has been part of our way of behaving. I would often say that Nigerians, we tend to be much friendlier to foreigners than even to ourselves. So it’s never really been an issue.
“With regards to South Africa, there was a demonstration, but, that was really all. I would like to think that Nigerians will not start targeting innocent citizens for no other reason than they are nationals of the countries in which some Nigerians were attacked.
“We are better than that and, so far, we have proved to be better than that.”
The minister also said that the ministry is putting in place modalities to ensure that Nigerians abroad get fair treatment through the country’s embassies and missions. He said complaints about services was not limited or peculiar to embassies alone but something that needed general change of behaviour
“Here in Nigeria, in almost every sector, we get a lot of complaints. There have been lots of complaints at our embassies and I have met with the Minister of Interior (Abdulrahman Dambazau), for us to issue joint directive to all our embassies and missions.
Meanwhile, Nigeria and South Africa have set up a 24-hour early warning system to protect Nigerians from unwarranted attacks.
“Wherever any Nigerian is threatened or in difficulty, we will always intervene quickly. We are hoping now to set up a 24-hour call centre so that Nigerians, anywhere in the world, can call a particular number whenever they are in distress.”
The minister said that the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa has been directed to facilitate legal support, to help victims of recent xenophobic attacks in the country to get compensation.