Nigeria Deny Recalling Envoy From South Africa Over Xenophobic Attacks

Nigeria Deny Recalling Envoy From South Africa Over Xenophobic Attacks

Nigeria has denied it recalled its envoy from South Africa over on-going xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals working there.

According to a statement from the Public Communication department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, the Federal government had not recalled its ambassador from South Africa has portrayed in both international and local media, but just summoned then “for consultation”.

The ministry had on Saturday issued a statement summoning its envoy from South Africa.

“The statement earlier issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was to summon, for routine consultation, the Acting High Commissioner of Nigeria to South Africa and the Consul General in Johannesburg over the xenophobic attacks on some foreigners, including Nigerians, in South Africa. This is a usual practice in the conduct of diplomacy,” The Guardian quoted a statement sent by the ministry on Monday.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reiterate that the two senior diplomats have been invited to come for consultation, after which they would return to their duty posts. They have, therefore, not been recalled as erroneously portrayed in the media,” it added.

The attacks, that started three weeks ago after Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini incited locals against foreigners, has already killed seven people.

In reaction to the earlier statement, the South African government said it was concerned with Nigeria’s decision to recall its envoy from Pretoria and said it held off from withdrawing its ambassador from Nigeria when 84 South African’s were  killed in the collapse of a church building in Lagos last year.

South Africa had also refrained from blaming Nigerian authorities for the “more than nine months delay” in the repatriation of the bodies.