In what appears to be a diplomatic breakdown phase of the on-going Xenophobic attack issue between Nigeria and South Africa, The Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Kabiru Bala has been recalled by the Federal Government. This is in addition to Nigeria cancelling her attendance and participation in the upcoming World Economic Summit holding in Cape Town.
A Nigerian presidential source has been quoted by News Agency of Nigeria as saying that Nigeria has demanded full compensation for the loss of life and property of Nigerians affected by the xenophobic attack.
The report claimed that the demand for compensation was one of the two major demands by the Nigerian government from the government of South African following the fall out of the xenophobic attacks against other African Nationals in South Africa including Nigerians. The second demand by Nigeria is for an improved security mechanism to forestall the re-occurrence of such attacks in the future.
A senior presidential aide has confirmed that the ambassador had been recalled and that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was due to travel to South Africa for the economic summit, has taken the event off his schedule.
Presidential Spokesperson Garba Shehu could not confirm the recall as he claimed not to have been duely briefed on the issue. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activities between the two countries since tension over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa escalated following the report of fresh attacks on Saturday.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, over the attacks.
The presidency also announced on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari would be sending an envoy to South Africa on the issue.
Reports reaching us on how Shoprite malls were attacked in Lagos and Ibadan on Tuesday has been corroborated by several eye witness accounts and videos making rounds on social media.
Also, some protesters on Wednesday morning stormed a Shoprite mall in Abuja to protest the attack on Nigerians in South Africa.
Shoprite is one of the South-African linked businesses attacked in some Nigerian cities on Tuesday. The others include telecoms giant, MTN, and clothing store, PEP.
South African mobile telecoms giant, MTN, on Wednesday announced the closure of its outlets and service centres across Nigeria. MTN, which is Nigeria’s largest mobile phone operator, said its decision was to safeguard the lives of its customers and staff after its businesses were attacked in Lagos, Ibadan and Uyo on Tuesday.
The Nigerian government has, however, warned its citizens to refrain from retaliatory attacks against South African businesses.