Wants compensation for victims
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
THE Federal Government on Tuesday said that Nigeria will not retaliate to the xenophobic attacks against her citizens in South Africa.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama stated this while speaking with State House correspondents after leading outgoing Ukraine and Sri Lanka ambassadors to Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the Nigeria government had proposed to the South African government to compensate Nigerians that were victims of the attacks.
The Minister further said that the Federal Government was also considering sending security agencies to South Africa to work closely with the South African police force over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
According to him, “We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the south African government what we think will make a big difference.
“One, concerning compensation with those who have suffered loss and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.”
Asked what he was hoping to see in South Africa in terms of security, he said, “We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents deploying them initially in the Nigerian High Commission to work closely with the South African police force.
“We believe that would be a very important process to address and preempt this kind of attacks and possibly for them to also be embedded within the police force of South Africa.
“So, you will have some certain number of Nigeria security people trying to work with the South African police force.”
Also asked whether there would be a reciprocal effect if the South African government did not cooperate, he said that retaliation was not the answer to the problem.
He said,” We don’t believe that two wrongs make right, I think in terms of revenge on those kinds of attack is not what we are looking forward to. The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation, that they are equally exasperated by the whole event. We believe that with that goodwill we may be able to work together to put in place these mechanisms that would make a difference.”
He said that the Special Envoy that had been dispatched to South Africa to meet the country’s President would go with the two issues of compensation and deployment of Nigeria Police to be stationed at the Office of Nigeria High Commission.
He said,” It is just those two key issues, the compensation payment and what security mechanism be put in place to make sure that this kind of attacks does not recur. We need to have a viable mechanism in place.
“As I have said, one of the possibilities that we are proposing is to have some Nigerian security operatives working with the South African police and attached to the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.”