President Muhammadu Buhari today departed Abuja on a three-day state visit to South Africa following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to discuss the welfare of Nigerians in that country. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said yesterday that the visit was also to find common grounds for building harmonious relations with their hosts.
The visit comes 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.
President Buhari is accompanied by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State. Others are: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd); the Minister of Power, Eng. Saleh Mamman; the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite; the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi and the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum. Also on the trip are: the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Chairman/CEO, Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
While in South Africa, Buhari will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in that 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 will be presented. At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communiqué.
The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts. The President will return to Abuja on Friday.