Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari begins a three-day state visit to the Republic of South Africa today.
The visit is sequel to an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the welfare of Nigerians and find common grounds for building harmonious relations.
The visit is coming against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of hundreds of Nigerians, and the exchange of visits by special envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.
While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, with a view to sharing in their experiences and reassuring them of Nigerian government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property, and promoting peaceful co-existence.
Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report would be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders are expected to sign a joint communiqué.
The president and his delegation, including Nigerian business representatives, would also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum.
President Buhari will be accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
Others are Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.); Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, and Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum.
Also on the entourage are National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, and Chairman/CEO of Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The president will return to Abuja on Friday.
Recall that condemnations greeted the recent attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in South Africa, prompting government to call for the evacuation of her nationals willing to return home.