Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijah Abba Ibrahim, told the Senate yesterday that no Nigerian died in the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The minister based her statement on the information from the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa.
The Senate and the House of Representatives also yesterday decided to take the case to the South African parliament. They are to send delegations to table the matter before their counterparts.
The minister said nobody was convicted as a result of previous attacks and no compensation was paid by the South African government.
The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu, told the minister that Nigerians were interested in what the government was doing to protect them in South Africa.
“We want to hear from the ministry that the Acting High Commissioner has actually invited Nigerians to talk to them to give them solace because tomorrow, nobody knows what is going to happen again.
“We are only telling them (Nigerians), to please hide to give a low profile. That means we have told them not to engage in their businesses again that they should be in hiding which is not good for Nigerians.
“To the committee we are not happy, we are highly disappointed and what we would expect is that your delegations, we have the mandate of the two Houses for us to go to South Africa. We will all go together see them and look at the memoranda of understanding or bilateral of what you are signing.
“It has to be give and take. If it is necessary Nigeria will not hesitate to put sanctions on South Africa.
After about one hour of deliberation, the Senate yesterday resolved to dispatch a “powerful” parliamentary delegation to South Africa to express the displeasure of the Nigerian parliament over the attacks.
The lawmakers however turned down the prayer for the Nigerian Government to reconsider its diplomatic ties with South African.
Senator Rose Oko Cross River North) and three others presented a motion on “Resurgence of xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings of Nigerians in South Africa.”
The Oko specifically asked the Senate to ask the Federal Government to reconsider Nigeria’s diplomatic ties with South Africa if the ugly incidents of the attacks of Nigerians do not stop.
The prayer was rejected as some of the Senators contended that the ripple effect of such action would be overwhelming.
Senate President, Abubakaer Bukola Saraki, noted that the government could no longer fold its hands and allow its citizens to be attacked and killed.
Saraki said that henceforth, Nigerian ambassadors in other country’s would be given specific assignments to defend the dignity and rights of Nigerians living abroad.
The Senate President said that the Senate would work to ensure that funding for foreign missions are increased.
The House of Representatives yesterday directed its Leader Femi Gbajabiamila to lead a delegation to the South Africa parliament .
A statement by Gbajabiamila’s media aide, , Olanrewaju Smart, said: ” the House Leader will be joined by the Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnena Okeje (PDP, Abia); Sadiq Ibrahim (APC, Adamawa); Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo); Nasiru Zango Daura (APC, Katsina) and Shehu Aliyu Musa (APC, Bauchi) as members of the delegation.
“The House resolved that the delegation of legislators and ministry of foreign affairs officials engage the parliament of South Africa and Nigerians in South Africa on the xenophobic attacks with a few to stop the attacks and any further occurrence in future”.