IOL 03 October 2019

Johannesburg – Take President Muhammadu Buhari to Sunnyside and Hillbrow.

That was the resounding call of frustrated South Africans to President Cyril Ramaphosa as his Nigerian counterpart landed in the country on Thursday morning.

Buhari arrived in South Africa for an official state visit following violent attacks which led to hundreds of foreigners leaving the country for good after attacks on foreign business in Gauteng last month. Some of the affected foreigners who returned home were Nigerians. 

At the height of the violent attacks, Buhari announced on Twitter that he would be sending a special envoy to Pretoria to express Nigeria’s ‘deep concern’ about the safety and security of Nigerians living in South Africa.

I am sending a Special Envoy to President Ramaphosa to share our deep concern about the security of Nigerian lives and property in South Africa, and to ensure that the South African Government is doing everything within its power in this regard.

Back in Nigeria, South African businesses, including supermarket chains, came under attack as Nigerians retaliated, targeting South African businesses in the country. 

Speaking at the Union Buildings, Buhari said arrests had been made for the attacks on business, while Ramaphosa expressed regret for the attacks, as he did in Zimbabwe during the memorial service of former president Robert Mugabe.  

About 12 people were killed during the attacks, the majority of the deceased being South Africans, while a number of shops and businesses were looted in various parts of Gauteng. Two of the 12 killed were foreigners.

But soon after his arrival, some of the South African twitterati had a message for Buhari, which they hoped Ramaphosa would deliver to him. 

They want Ramaphosa to take Buhari to areas such as Hillbrow in Joburg and Sunnyside in Pretoria. These are areas which are perceived as drug infested territories which are dominated by Nigerians.  

Buhari is expected to address members of the Nigerian community living in South Africa during his three-day State visit. But the twitterati said Ramaphosa must take him to Hillbrow and Sunnyside, to see for himself.

Some South Africans blame crime, drugs and prostitution – particularly at Nigerians living in South Africa. When Ramaphosa apologised during Mugabe’s memorial service, some quarters of the public were not impressed as they argued it was true that some foreigners were involved in criminal activities in the country.

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