President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said he was shocked by the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. The President on Wednesday embarked on a three-day state visit to South Africa to engage President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding steps to resolve the crisis and other bilateral talks that would cement the relationship between the two countries. Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President Garba Shehu, in a statement said Buhari: “The President was shocked at the outbreak of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
He said: “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,’’ he added. President Buhari also commiserated with those who were injured, praying for their quick recovery, and sympathised with those who lost properties and other valuables. “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 reccurrence with the South African government.
“I had earlier directed the evacuation of Nigerians who do not feel safe to remain here. Over 500 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.