Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised Nigerians who were evacuated from South Africa to be ready to go back to the country if a bilateral commission meeting scheduled between President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa yielded a positive outcome.
The former President also enjoined the leadership of South Africa and Nigeria to be ready to compromise and make the right statements that would encourage evacuated Nigerians to go back to South Africa.
Obasanjo said this on Saturday, at his residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo President Library, Abeokuta while speaking with journalists on the outcome of his visit to the South African President.
Nigeria has recently evacuated hundreds of Nigerians from South Africa following xenophobic attacks in the country.
Obasanjo said “I took the opportunity of being in South Africa about three or four days ago to actually pay a courtesy call on President Cyril Ramaphosa and he quickly granted me the opportunity. One of the major things we discussed was this issue of xenophobia or ‘afrophobia.’
“One good thing I discovered among many is what the president said to me that ‘There is so much at stake and whatever mistake we have made, we have to correct it.’ And I think that was a very good statement and I know that he meant it because, he immediately said ‘Look, what can we do or should we do?’”
While advising the South African government, Obasanjo said, “The idea of thinking or saying that foreigners are taking your jobs should be killed because most of these foreigners paid (sic) something into the country.
“I met more than two Nigerians who are doing legitimate businesses and the turnover runs into millions of dollar and they employed 50 to 60 South Africans.
“All these must be expressed and must be shown that Nigerians in South Africa are not drug peddlers and criminals. There are many of them that are genuine businessmen and professionals and who are making meaningful contributions to the economy and the social life of that country.
“I think that is all we must be doing and be saying and I said my joy is that President Cyril Ramaphosa is ready to do what needs to be done to stop these incidents and to put the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa on the right track.”