Xenophobic Resolution: Nigeria, South Africa’ll jointly address xenophobic crisis, Ramaphosa

President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit  to South Africa  in October for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa will focus on  addressing  the challenges affecting people and businesses in the two countries.
Both countries are  currently locked in a bitter diplomatic row over the attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in South Africa.
And there have also been some retaliatory attacks on South African businesses in Nigeria.
This statement came after Buhari’s special envoy and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar, met with Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Friday.
Abubakar, who returned to the country on Saturday, was said to have expressed Nigeria’s displeasure at the treatment being meted out to Nigerians in the Rainbow Nation during the meeting. He was also said to have confirmed  Buhari’s visit to South Africa in October.
A South African newspaper, Times Live, on Saturday, quoted Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, as saying, “In yesterday’s discussion, the special envoy conveyed President Buhari’s concern at recent events in South Africa, in the context of the strong and cordial relations that characterise the interaction between the two countries.
“Nigeria stands ready to assist South Africa in establishing the root causes of and developing sustainable solutions to the challenges concerned.
“President Buhari has undertaken that where challenges emerge in Nigeria, the Nigerian government will act against lawlessness and the targeting of South African assets in Nigeria.”
She added that Buhari’s visit is meant to “reinforce the strong bonds between the two countries and jointly develop responses to challenges affecting people and businesses in South Africa and Nigerian.
Buhari’s special envoy returns, to brief President
Meanwhile, the special envoy President Muhmmadu Buhari sent to South Africa following the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country has returned to Nigeria, Our agency has learnt.
The special envoy who is also the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar, returned to the country after he met with the South African President, Cyril Ramophosa, in Pretoria.
A competent Presidency source confirmed to our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Saturday that the special envoy had returned to the country.
The source said the next step is for Abubakar to brief Buhari on the outcome of his visit to South Africa.
He said, “I can confirm to you that the special envoy has returned to the country after his visit to South Africa and his meeting with President Ramophosa.
“The next step is for him to meet with President Buhari and brief him on the outcome of his trip.
“That meeting will take place any time from now.”
The Minsiter of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Oyeama, had told State House correspondents during the week that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa would be recalled after the special envoy would have returned and briefed Buhari on the outcome of his trip.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had also said on Thursday that the high commissioner would only be recalled “for consultation” after the special envoy must have briefed the President.
Abubakar arrived the OR Tambo Airport on Thursday evening.
He was received by top officials of Nigeria’s High Commision led by the High Commissioner.
He met President Ramophosa in Pretoria on Friday and he did not speak with journalists after the meeting.
Abubakar was expected to have  expressed Nigeria’s displeasure at the treatment meted out to Nigerians to the host President during the meeting.
South African bishops knock Ramaphosa over attacks on Nigerians, others
However, Catholic Bishops in South Africa have dismissed claims by the South African government that the attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in the former apartheid nation were not xenophobic as incorrect.
This was contained in a  statement by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of the Southern African Catholic Bishop’s Conference Office for Migrants and Refugees on Saturday.
Tlhagale said they were not happy with the attack on foreign nationals in South Africa.
He said, “Once again we received reports of the authorities doing very little to protect the victims. We received reports of police standing by idly in Pretoria while shops were being looted and people attacked. Not a single arrest was made on that day.
“Once again the authorities resort to the old explanation: that this is not xenophobia, but the work of criminal elements.
“Let us be absolutely clear – this is not an attempt by concerned South Africans to rid our cities of drug dealers. And this is not the work of a few criminal elements. It is xenophobia, plain and simple. If it was about drugs, why are South African drug dealers not being targeted as well? Are we really to believe that there are none? And why are drug addicts who rob people in our city centres to get money to buy drugs not being targeted? If it is the work of a few criminal elements, why are South African-owned businesses not being looted as well?”
He added, “The teaching of the Church is direct and uncompromising. More than 80 per cent  of South Africans claim to be Christians. What are our religious leaders teaching the multitudes that fill our Churches every Sunday? Galatians 3:28 says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’.
“By the same token, there is neither South African nor Nigerian nor Ethiopian. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
“Let us take heed of this. We are facing a rising tide of hatred and intolerance, no different to the rising tide of hatred in Nazi Germany. If we do not take urgent actions to stop it, there will be nothing left.”
Xenophobic reprisals: 5,000 Lagosians  have lost  jobs –Sanwo-Olu
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday lamented that over 5,000 people had lost  jobs in the state  following  the destruction of  some shopping malls by people protesting against  attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke after inspecting  the damaged facilities, condemned the attacks and the looting of goods in the shopping malls.
He said, “We have seen the level of destruction at both Novare Plaza and Surulere Plaza. This is extensive destruction of people’s wealth. Unfortunately, during my inspection of both plazas, I discovered that those affected were all indigenous stores and companies.
“Even the names that are synonymous with South African, I could see that there were over 150 staff members that could not get to perform their duties because of the act.
“When people come into a store overnight to loot the goods, it is an act that must be condemned. With the act now, over 5,000 people are out of job. These are places where Nigerians are the major ones affected.’’
The governor assured the people of protection  of life  and property.
He added, “We have also been speaking with the  police hierarchy  to know what will be done to all those that were arrested during the act.’’
SA High Commission, Consulate remains closed till further notice, Official
In a related development, the South African High Commission in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos will remain closed until further directives from Pretoria, a senior official has told Our agency.
It was learnt  that no date had been fixed for the resumption of consular services by the mission.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity,  said  on Saturday the authorities were monitoring  the situation.
He said, “We remain closed for now until things improve. We would inform the public when the high commission and the consulate reopen, we would issue a statement.”
South African Minister of International Relation and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, had  said their  high commission  and consulate in Nigeria  were closed because  they feared the   workers of the mission  could be attacked.
She  said although there was no direct physical threat to the diplomats and citizens, Pretoria took their safety as a priority, hence decided  to close  the mission.
The acting High Commissioner, Bobby Moroe, told our correspondent in an exclusive interview on Thursday that they shut down due to threats to the mission property.
Meanwhile,  the High Commission offices in Abuja  is still under tight security.