The South African government on Wednesday closed all its embassies in Nigeria following reprisal attacks rising from xenophobic violence in Johannesburg and other places.
“After receiving reports and threats from some Nigerians we decided to temporarily close while we are assessing the situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele is quoted as saying.
The move means that facilities in the Nigerian capital, Abuja and the commercial hub of Lagos would be closed to the public and employees till further notice.
Nigerians attacked a number of South African businesses in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country. The Federal Government has strongly condemned the incidents.
Nigeria also recalled its ambassador to South Africa on Wednesday. Abuja also boycotted the World Economic Forum on Africa which is taking place in Cape Town. A travel advisory is also in place against travel to South Africa.
Meanwhile, government confirmed that a local airline, Air Peace, had opted to help evacuate all Nigerians who want to return home from South Africa at no cost.
Nigeria is the most vocal nation amid the latest wave of anti-foreigner violence in South Africa. Rwanda, DR Congo and Malawi also boycotted the Cape Town event. Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia were among the attendees.
Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry slammed the incidents and Botswana currently has a travel advisory on South Africa. Zambians protested on Wednesday at premises of South Africa owned businesses, at the embassy in Lusaka and at the presidential residence.