Governor of Kogi state, Alh. Yahaya Bello has urged Nigerians and South Africans to lock themselves down in bilateral engagement in order to find a lasting solution to the alleged xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa.
The Governor, in Lokoja made the call through a statement by his Director General on Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo on Friday, saying the two African giants cannot afford worn relations.
Xenophobic attacks in South Africa are of grave concern to Nigeria and Nigerians. "The two can achieve a lot working together and South Africa must also believe they have business interests across Africa.
"We are aware of efforts by the South African authorities to douse the rising tension between citizens of the two countries, which is a clear indication of the fact that the government and people of South Africa recognize Nigeria’s leading role in the war against apartheid.
The world has become a global village and Nigerians must be as safe in South Africa as South Africans are in our nation.
Together, we are stronger. The Governor also urged Nigerians to show the world an example in diplomatic restraint, assuring that the Federal Government will do everything within its powers to protect Nigerians anywhere around the world.
"We cannot afford to plunge the continent into crisis when we have worked to restore peace around the world and as the giant of Africa and we must show great diplomatic restraint in addressing sensitive issues such as the xenophobic row between Nigeria and South Africa.
Attacking South African interests in Nigeria will not solve the problem of xenophobic attacks. We believe dialogue and public orientation in South Africa will help enlighten their people on the need to see Nigeria as a partner in progress.
Our people are highly industrious anywhere they are and they have contributed immensely to the progress of South Africa.
The Governor however, called on the international community to lend their voices to the call on South Africans to see xenophobia as "another form of injustice against fellow humans".