Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Nigeria entertains diplomatic spat with South Africa

The Nigerian government appears determined to square off with its South African counterpart over the latter's deportation of 125 Nigerians who were heading to South Africa from Nigeria. The Nigerians were reportedly prevented from completing their journeys after they were found to be using invalid yellow fever vaccination cards. Abuja has expressed, in no uncertain terms, its extreme displeasure with the action of the South African immigration service in deporting its citizens.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbenga Ashiru, has stated that the government will mete out a similar treatment to South Africans looking to come into Nigeria and has demanded that Pretoria apologise to the Nigerian government. He latter has already retaliated by refusing to grant entry to around 100 South Africans who have tried to enter gain entry into Nigeria since the incident.

The National Assembly is also talking tough. Plenary sessions in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have threatened to force the Federal Government to close down South African businesses such as mobile telecommunications service provider MTN and cable satellite television provider DSTV/Multichoice.

Some observers have stated that the only reason why the legislators are talking tough is because a Senator was amongst the Nigerians who were turned back from Johannesburg airport after allegedly using an invalid or “fake” yellow fever vaccination card.
The feud is shaping up to be quite bitter because the South African government has apparently insisted that it will not apologise to Nigerians for the incident, and argues that it was only protecting its borders and following due process.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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