President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned visit to South Africa next month remains on course to reinforce “the strong bonds between the two countries” and jointly develop responses to problems affecting people and businesses in South Africa and Nigeria, the presidency said on Saturday.
In the wake of public violence in South Africa and developments in Nigeria around South African businesses based in the West African country, President Cyril Ramaphosa held discussions on Friday with Nigerian Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Buhari’s special envoy, the presidency said in a statement.
The visit to Pretoria by the special envoy followed a recent meeting between presidents Ramaphosa and Buhari in Yokohama, Japan, on the sidelines of the summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
Buhari conveyed his commitment to the values of prosperity and the advancement of Africa that were shared by South Africa and Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria stood ready to assist South Africa in establishing the root causes of and developing sustainable solutions to the problems concerned.
The president’s visit may not be well received by many back home, including his party, the All Progressives Congress, who have called for stiffer measures against South Africa over the xenophobic attacks.
Some have called for severing of ties with SA, while other favour nationalising their businesses in Nigeria.
Buhari had come under severe criticism following his tardy response to the attacks on Nigerians, and his planned visit may reinforce the notion that the government of the day was not up to the task of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.