Cooperation will benefit all of Africa

Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: Phill Magakoe / AFP

We hope the message of peace and unity from President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart reached the intended audience.

As Ramaphosa hosted President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, he reiterated SA's commitment to African unity and respect for human rights.

The meeting to strengthen trade relations and social cohesion between the two nations took place after weeks of violent attacks on foreign nationals, which saw about 300 Nigerians being evacuated.

Locals assaulted foreigners, looted and burnt their shops after accusing them of peddling drugs, among other crimes, in their communities.

Buhari did not mince his words as he called on his countrymen living in SA to abide by the laws of the country.

"I think Nigerians know the stand of the leadership, that when you are in Rome, you do what the Romans do.

"When you are in a country, you study the people and the laws and you get yourself in line with the authorities and the people. If you do anything outside the people's understanding and agreement, eventually they will not accept it," he said, in a joint press briefing after the meeting in Pretoria.

Since the tensions erupted, the focus had been on condemning violent South Africans for the attacks, correctly so, as they have no right to take the law into their own hands.

However, it is highly commendable of Buhari to come to this country and address the allegations levelled against his people by locals.

His stance of shifting the focus from attackers and call out Nigerians to behave is greatly appreciated, we believe it will play a role in addressing the tensions.

We also welcome the trade deals signed by the Africa's economic powerhouses. A total of 32 bi-lateral agreements in various sectors like trade and industry, investment, energy, defence and security, immigration, justice, and police, among others, were signed.

One of the agreements was that businesspeople would get 10-year visas to enable easy trade between the two countries. The move will contribute greatly to further grow the two economies.

Already the continent's two biggest economies, co-operation between SA and Nigeria will only benefit all of Africa.

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