|Geoffrey Onyeama: Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister|
Amb. Olushola Enikaonolaiye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement in Abuja, urged South African authorities to assume their responsibilities in taking proactive measures to prevent such incident.
Enikanolaiye said the deceased was killed by a mob over alleged engagement in drug peddling in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.
He added that “Mr Ajao, an auto mechanic, had lived in South Africa and had been practising his trade for over 10 years without any record of involvement with or in any drug related transaction.
“The Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria also reported that five other Nigerians were wounded in the mayhem and so far, two of the wounded have been discharged and three still receiving treatment in local hospital.
“Following the unfortunate incident, our High Commission has dispatched a strongly worded letter of protest on the death of Mr Ajao and the continued violence against Nigerians.”
According to him, Federal Government considers this development reprehensible and calls for restraint on the part of its citizens as it continues to engage South African authorities for explanations on the recent incident.
He said government would continue to pursue the course of justice for the dead and the injured, as well as ensure adequate compensation for victims.
The permanent secretary said Nigeria was prepared to attend the inaugural meeting of the newly-created Early Warning Mechanism scheduled to hold next week in South Africa.
In the same vein, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, condemned the latest attack on Nigerians in South Africa, describing it as pathetic.
Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement by her Special Adviser, Media, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, that `this renewed attack and killing of Nigerians in South Africa is pathetic, coming after high level, successful meetings by both the executive and legislative arms of government.”
She urged South Africa to show political will to deal with the issue by at least punishing the culprits, lamenting that no one had been penalised so far.
She appealed to Nigerians in South Africa to limit themselves to safe surroundings and warned that “this is an attack too many.”
There were reported cases of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa on Feb. 5, Feb. 18 and March 21, where property worth millions of dollars were destroyed, though no life was lost.
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