Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari will commence his three-day scheduled visit to Pretoria, South Africa from 2nd-4th of October 2019. 

The visit follows the recent Xenophobic attacks against Nigerians, and other Africans, which took place majorly in Johannesburg and Cape Town, last month. This incident led to the evacuation of over 300 Nigerians from South Africa by special envoys sent by the government.

Below is a breakdown of the key issues President Buhari should address during his visit:

A plan to prevent future Xenophobic attacks

The National Action Plan launched by South Africa to combat Xenophobia and other related intolerance will not be enough to curb the criminal attacks. In recent times, such violence goes unpunished and no one has been publicly convicted for indulging in the crime. Thus, it is paramount that a lasting, effective measure is set up and adequately implemented.

President Buhari has to get his South African counterpart to issue an executive order, in which sanctions and coercive measures will be carried out on any individual or group of persons who actively participate in Xenophobia. 

If enforced, this order will ensure that such inhumane events do not reoccur in the future. More so, the proposed order will see that the government and police perform the responsibility of acknowledging these attacks and carry out stipulated sanctions on the perpetrators.

Improving business relations

During his time in the Southern African nation, President Buhari will be attending the South Africa-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC). And according to the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, they are expected to “discuss various issues that border on trade, investment…” amongst others.

The president, his delegations and other Nigerian business representatives will also be present in a business forum in South Africa. He is expected to foster the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce (NSACC) during the summit and motion for an increment in trade between Nigeria and South Africa as both countries have the biggest economies in Africa.

The Nigerian leader should, however, use these platforms to emphasize the importance of unity and harmony between the two countries irrespective of the Xenophobia attacks, so that bilateral relations, especially in the economic sphere, can thrive again.

A town hall meeting between Nigerians and President Buhari is also on schedule, after which the government would decide whether or not to continue the evacuation process of Nigerians in South Africa. 

By Treasure Nnabugwu

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