Pretoria seeks reconciliation
DESPITE subtle moves by South Africa for an amicable resolution of the diplomatic row it instigated with Nigeria following the deportation of 125 Nigerians from the Johannesburg airport last Thursday over yellow cards, the Federal Government again yesterday bared its fangs, sending back another batch of 32 South Africans.
Nigeria has so far deported a total of 116 since Monday when the federal government decided to apply the principle of reciprocity. As at yesterday, South Africa diplomats in Nigeria and their home country have requested for a peaceful resolution of the unfolding row.
Before yesterday’s development, no fewer than 56 South Africans were on Tuesday deported. Also, 28 South Africans were sent back from the Murtala Muhammed airport, Lagos, on Monday night. The South African nationals were denied entry as the Nigerian Immigration Services deported them for what it described as ‘’ lack of proper documentation’’.
The passengers had arrived Lagos aboard a South African Airways flight which landed around 8p.m.
Just like the process leading to the earlier deportation of the South Africans, an Immigration source confirmed to The Guardian that immediately the aircraft arrived, the disembarked passengers were screened, while those who they claimed did not have ‘’proper documents’’ were denied entry.
There were indications last Tuesday that South Africa and Nigeria were opting for an amicable resolution of the brewing diplomatic row. But the Federal Government officials insisted yesterday that the reciprocity action should continue to show South Africa that Nigeria’s matured and friendly disposition to other African nations should not be taken for granted.
In the same vein, the House of Representatives on Tuesday directed that urgent steps be taken to address the national embarrassment and ensure that no other country repeats same in future.
Indication of early thawing again emerged yesterday as both Abuja and Pretoria spoke positively about the outcome of the meeting held on Monday over which Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, promised “a firm and matured stand on the matter.”
South Africa’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Kingsley Mamabolo, had marathon meetings on Tuesday, while the spokesperson of the High Commission, Mothusi Choeunyane, told The Guardian: “Yes, we are very positive about the outcome of the meeting. It is being studied for the appropriate public pronouncement. The high commission is still receiving briefings on the matter. Let me assure you that the matter was taken up at the highest level with the headquarters.”