President Muhammadu Buhari Monday went down memory lane, recalling roles played by Nigeria in engendering majority rule in South Africa, and ending the apartheid segregationist policy.
Receiving in audience Mr Jeff Radebe, Special Envoy of President Cyril
Ramaphosa of South Africa at State House, Abuja, the President recounted
that he was a junior military officer to Generals Murtala Mohammed and
Olusegun Obasanjo, who were military heads of state at different times
in the mid to late 1970s.
According to President Buhari, “Going back to historical antecedents, we
made great sacrifices for South Africa to become a free state. I was a
junior officer to Gen. Murtala Muhammad, and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo.
They were not operating in a democracy, but they got Nigerians to
support them in the bid to see a free South Africa.”
“Our leadership was quite committed to the cause. We made sacrifices,
which younger people of today may not know. During my last visit to
South Africa with the late President Robert Mugabe, it was very
emotional, as Mugabe spoke about Nigeria’s contribution to free South
Africa,” he noted.
The President extended appreciation to President Ramaphosa, through the
Special Envoy, “for coming to explain to us what happened in South
Africa recently, leading to killing and displacement of foreigners.”
President Buhari responded to profuse apologies from the South African
President, pledging that relationship between the two countries “will be
solidified,” while describing the xenophobic attacks as “very
Mr Radebe apologized on behalf of his President for what he called “acts
of criminality and violence” that recently occurred, adding that “such
do not represent our value system, nor those of the larger number of
He said South Africa was an integral part of Africa, and is fully committed to peace and integration of the continent.
The Special Envoy disclosed that 10 people died during the attacks – two
Zimbabweans and eight South Africans. He said there was no Nigerian
He added that South Africa remains eternally grateful for the role
Nigeria played in ending apartheid, and hoped that the coming visit of
the Nigerian President would solidify relationship between the two
countries once again.
Monday, September 16, 2019
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