South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to Nigerians over the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians residing in his country.
The apology was tendered by a special envoy led by Jeff Radebe on behalf of President Ramaphosa to President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in the state house, Abuja.
In apologising on behalf of his government and people of South Africa, Radebe, described xenophobic attacks as “acts of criminality and violence” adding that “such do not represent our value system, nor those of the larger number of South Africans”.
Radebe added that South Africa is fully committed to peace and integration of the Africa continent.
He disclosed that there was no Nigerian casualty among the 10 people who died during the attacks – two Zimbabweans and eight South Africans.
In a statement released by Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, Buhari went memory lane on the roles Nigeria played in ending apartheid in South Africa.
“Going back to historical antecedents, we made great sacrifices for South Africa to become a free state. I was a junior officer to Gen. Murtala Muhammad, and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. They were not operating in a democracy, but they got Nigerians to support them in the bid to see a free South Africa,” he said.
“Our leadership was quite committed to the cause. We made sacrifices, which younger people of today may not know. During my last visit to South Africa with the late President Robert Mugabe, it was very emotional, as Mugabe spoke about Nigeria’s contribution to free South Africa.”
Buhari expressed his appreciation to President Ramaphosa, through the Special Envoy, “for coming to explain to us what happened in South Africa recently, leading to killing and displacement of foreigners.”
He also responded to profuse apologies from the South African President, pledging that relationship between the two countries “will be solidified,” while describing the xenophobic attacks as “very unfortunate.”