Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, urged his country’s citizens who live in South Africa to abide by the laws of their host country.
Buhari said this during state visit to South Africa on Thursday, the first time Ramaphosa hosted a head of state since he was elected president in May. The Nigerian president made this plea following weeks of violence that targeted foreign nationals is several parts of the country, with Nigerian nationals accused of criminal activities.
“I think Nigerians know that stand of the leadership, that when you are in Rome you do what the Romans do. When you are in a country you study the people and the law. You get yourself in line with the authorities and the people who stay there. If you do anything outside the people’s understanding and agreement, eventually they will not accept it,” said Buhari at South Africa’s seat of government, the Union Buildings.
Ramaphosa is in agreement: “We both agreed that it is important that people who seek to settle in another country, should it be South Africans in Nigeria or Nigerians in South Africa… they must live by the laws of the country they are in. And similarly with business, it must abide by the law of the country they are doing business in. So on this we unanimous that the rule of law must be observed by anyone who seeks to operate or live in the two countries.”
The South African president then apologised to Buhari for the violence that saw some people being evacuated and flown back home to Nigeria.
"We would like to assure you that South Africa is committed to the ideals of African unity and solidarity to respect the human rights of others…
"While we are working to address economic and social conditions that has given rise to frustration and anger among some of our people, we firmly condemn all forms of intolerance and will not hesitate to act against criminal acts and violence," he said.
The two heads of state attended the inaugural session of the elevated Bi-National Commission (BNC) as part of a bilateral engagement to strengthen cooperation between Abuja and Pretoria.
"It is this very strong bond that should compel our two nations to forge ahead in the creation of a much stronger prosperous and more peaceful Africa and restorations between South African and Nigeria," Ramaphosa said.
Nigeria is one of the biggest markets for South Africa with a population of almost 200 million.