President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians living in South Africa to never forget that they represent some of the best human assets Nigeria has.
The president said this at a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in South Africa on Friday, October 4, 2019, the last day of his three-day state visit.
The president said Nigerians should also realise that the world is watching them as ambassadors of the country and that they must be good representatives.
He said, “First, you are our Ambassadors and the face of our country to the world wherever you are.
“The world is therefore, watching you and would make judgments on Nigeria based on your comportment and actions.
“Second, in whatever legitimate engagement you find yourself, you must strive to excel and be the best.
“Third, while you are out in the Diaspora, do not forget home.
“You represent some of the best human asset that Nigeria has.
“With your education and exposure to the world, you are at the cutting edge of technology.
“I, therefore, urge you to use your resources, skills and talents to help the development of Nigeria.”
Buhari’s visit is coming a month after Nigerian businesses were attacked by rioting local South African mobs who looted and burnt the places of business of African foreigners early in September.
Buhari said at Friday’s town hall that the xenophobic attacks shocked him, describing them as an embarrassment to Africa.
“Let me again use this medium to condole the families of all those who lost their lives over the years in such tragic incidents. May their souls rest in peace.
“I also commiserate with all those who were injured. May God heal their wounds. My sympathies are also with those who have lost properties.
“As a government, we are quite disturbed by these very unfortunate events and have taken actions and measures to address this issue and prevent their reoccurrence with the South African government,” he said.
September’s attacks caused diplomatic tensions between Nigeria and South Africa as hundreds were evacuated back to Nigeria last month.
Buhari said the over 500 Nigerians that have returned are being reintegrated into their communities.
When he met with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, October 3, Buhari pressed the need for future attacks to be prevented from taking place in the interest of the relations between both countries.
The 76-year-old president, re-elected for a second term earlier this year, told Nigerians at Friday’s town hall to be law abiding and respect constituted authorities where they live.
“May I also enjoin the few that sometimes gives us a bad name, to desist from such misdemeanours and be our good ambassadors,” he said.