By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
African Values Initiative (AVI) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent visit to South where he extracted commitment from the authorities to protect lives and property of Nigerians residing there.
The nongovernmental organisation which is committed to promoting “integrity, respect and good neighbourliness amongst Africans,” said it was excited by the maturity and sincerity exhibited by Buhari and his host, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, in their deliberations of the knotty issue during the visit by the Nigerian leader.
In a statement signed by its President, Engr Peter Ipole, the group noted: ” beyond the issue of compensation for victims of the xenophobic violence which the President did not disappoint Nigerians in pressing for, we are particularly excited that agreement was reached by the two leaders for the issuance of 10 years visa to businessmen, academics and sundry Nigerian frequent travellers to South Africa. This will in no small way, help to stem the allegations of illegal migration.”
Ipole said President Buhari particularly earned the respect of his organisation, for being careful to avoid a diplomatic row with South Africa by seeking the path of dialogue rather than resorting to “eye for an eye” approach that many Nigerians would have loved him to adopt in the face of unprovocative attacks on her citizens by fellow Africans.
Recall that youth in parts of South Africa had taken up arms against foreign nationals, including Nigerians in what had been described as sporadic xenophobic violence.
Foreign nationals, mostly Nigerians suffered huge financial losses as their business premises were attacked and property looted by restive youth in the incidents that also claimed scores of lives.
However, the Nigerian authorities were vigilant enough to prevent reprisals against South African business concerns in Nigeria.
AVI had in an earlier statement at the thick of the violence “condemned in all ramifications the killings of fellow Africans of other nationalities in South Africa by restive South African youths. It is bad, barbaric and It is not African.”
It added: “Africans are known for good neighbourliness and hospitality. We are known to be our brothers’ keepers any time and anywhere. Xenophobia is alien to African societal values systems.
“Xenophobia in South Africa is betrayal of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy and legacies of love, peace and freedom.
“We however wish to appeal to the affected countries particularly Nigeria to react circumspectly and with the heart of African brotherhood bearing in mind the fact that South Africans both young and old had been victims of protracted bondage due to apartheid. “