President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday revealed his shock over the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, describing it as embarrassment to the African continent.
Buhari said this in Pretoria, when he met with Nigerians in the Diaspora in South Africa.
Buhari had left for South Africa on Wednesday, shortly after presiding over the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and to have bilateral discussions.
He said, “First, you are our Ambassadors and the face of our country to the world wherever you are. The world is therefore, watching you and would make judgments on Nigeria based on your comportment and actions.
“Second, in whatever legitimate engagement you find yourself, you must strive to excel and be the best.
“Third, while you are out in the Diaspora, do not forget home. You represent some of the best human assets that Nigeria has. With your education and exposure to the world, you are at the cutting edge of technology.
“I, therefore , urge you to use your resources, skills and talents to help the development of Nigeria.”
“The recent acts of xenophobic attacks on our compatriots and other Africans in South Africa are shocking to me, Nigerians and indeed Africa.
“It was an embarrassment to the continent. Let me again use this medium to condole with the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace.”
“As a government, we are quite disturbed by these very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their re-occurrence with the South African government.
“I had earlier directed the evacuation of Nigerians who do not feel safe to remain here. Over five hundred have returned home and are being reintegrated into their communities.
“At this juncture, I wish to express my profound gratitude to Chief Allen Onyeama, the Chairman of Air Peace Airlines, who showed compassion and patriotism by immediately offering to evacuate our Nigerian brothers and sisters who had been affected by these xenophobic attacks,’’ he said.
“We have just inaugurated the Nigeria/South Africa Bi-National Commission at the level of Heads of State with a firm determination to further bring our two countries together in a mutually beneficial partnership. Let us therefore give peace a chance and pray we have seen the last of this ugly violence,’’ the President said.