The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, has said the Federal Government will not sever diplomatic ties with South Africa over the ongoing xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other nationals in that country.
Onyeama, who spoke with newsmen on Friday, however, said, will insist on compensation from South Africa for Nigerians affected in the orgy of violence against foreigners in the country.
Onyeama, who spoke with newsmen after a meeting with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Diaspora, Senator Ajibola Bashiru, said that a wide range of diplomatic moves were being made by the Nigerian Government to get South Africa and her citizens realise the need to prevent such attacks on Nigerians and others in the future.
He said: “We are not thinking to the stage of diplomatic ties call off now.
“There are various options.
“We are not by any means at a stage where we are breaking diplomatic relations with South Africa.
“The Nigerian government will be demanding that the victims should be compensated.
“This is important despite the position of the South African Government that there is no provision for that by their own laws.
“They will definitely be made to resort to other insurance companies or other private arrangements for that.
“So the options that are being considered are weighty enough to ensure that the government of South Africa is alive to its responsibility on the rule of law but not in anyway relating to severance of ties.”
Onyeama appealed to Nigerians eschew retaliation in the interest of both countries, particularly considering that fact that about 800,000 Nigerians are presently resident in South Africa.
He said: “Fundamental in resolving this matter is for us to appeal to Nigerians not to take laws in to their hands.
“As it has been stated in the earlier statement on Committee of Diaspora in the Senate, we need to exercise restraint as Nigeria is a leader in Africa and as a country, we must also show that we are responsible as two wrongs can never make a right.
“So we appeal to Nigerians to remain calm.”
Bashiru said diplomatic options were the best approach to the problem and not retaliation or diplomatic face off.
He said: “As we are today, from reliable information, not less than 800, 000 Nigerians are living in South Africa.
“So if you want to take a decision, you must be able to protect their interest because they have been tied to the South African society for many years.
“So when you are taking decision you have to take a decision that will promote the interest of all Nigerians that are in that country.”
Source- Eagles Online