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Xenophobia: FG Draws Battleline Against South Africa

The Federal Government yesterday declared that it had drawn battle line with South Africa over xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this when he addressed State House correspondents after a closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Onyeama regretted that the reports had distorted the situation and impacted on the federal government response on the incident.

“Of course, a lot of things have been circulating in social media which have not helped matters. Some of them have really distorted the situation and because of that have impacted in our response”,  So, number one is that the information we have from the High Commission, from the Consul General in South Africa is that no Nigerian life has been lost during this crisis.

“And I think that is very important because on social media, there is a lot of stories going around of Nigerians being killed, jumping off buildings and being burnt. This is not the case.What we know is that premises, shops of Nigerians have been looted and property destroyed,’’ he said.

According to Onyeama, a red line has been drawn between Nigeria and South Africa over the lingering attacks, noting that African countries have built consensus against the attacks.

“We want to assure all Nigerians that this government is determined, that red line has been drawn and that we will not cave in on this occasion.The South African government has to assume its responsibilities and protect Nigerians in South Africa and we have to hold them to account and they have to do that as well as pay full compensation,’’ he added.

The minister confirmed that the Ambassador of Nigeria to South Africa would soon be recalled for consultation, adding “Enough is enough – we are going to address it once and for all this time. This is the position of government.’’

 meanwhile

Meanwhile the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered water-tight security around embassies, foreign missions, foreigners and their businesses within the country.

The order was against the backdrop of the unfortunate attack on Shoprite outlets in Lekki Area of Lagos Sate, on Tuesday.

A statement on yesterday by Frank Mba, the Force spokesman, said miscreants attacked and looted the Malls ostensibly under the pretext of protesting against the incessant “xenophobic” attacks in South Africa.

“To this end, all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Commissioners of Police across the Federation have been placed on red alert to ensure no similar violence is replicated within the country”, it said.

The IGP condemned the violent attacks and noted that three police officers were seriously injured and a police operational vehicle set ablaze

He also disclosed that a total number of 125 suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident while a good number of looted valuables have been recovered by the Police.

“While recognizing the rights of citizens to air their views on salient national issues as enshrined in our statutes, the Force reiterates that these must be done within the confines of the law”, it added.

“Miscreants and criminally-minded people who masquerade as genuine protesters are therefore warned to stay-off the streets of Nigeria as the Force will not hesitate to bring to bear the full weight of the law on any such law breaker.

“Parents and Guardians are therefore enjoined to prevail on their children and wards to desist from acts capable of causing breakdown of law and order in the country.

“Meanwhile, the Force has commenced investigations and profiling of the arrested suspects with a view to establishing their connection with the stealing, malicious damage, arson and disturbance of public peace on the day of the incident.”

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