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Buhari departs for South Africa; to hold town hall meeting with Nigerians

By Toby Prince

President Muhammadu Buhari will today depart Abuja for a three-day state visit to South Africa, following an invitation by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The two leaders are billed to discuss the welfare of Nigerians eking out a living in the former apartheid enclave.

The visit comes against the background of recent xenophobic attacks, the evacuation of 502 Nigerians and the exchange of visits by Special envoys of Presidents Buhari and Ramaphosa.

A statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the two leaders would find common grounds for building harmonious relations among their respective citizens.

”While in South Africa, the Nigerian leader will hold a town hall meeting with Nigerians living in the country, to share in their experiences”, Shehu said in the statement.

He said the President Buhari would use the opportunity to reassure Nigerians of government’s commitment to working for the protection of their lives and property and promoting peaceful co-existence.

The statement reads: “President Buhari and his host will preside over the South Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission, during which a progress report will be presented.

“At the end of the meeting, both leaders will sign a joint communique.

“The President and his delegation including Nigerian business representatives will also participate at a South Africa-Nigeria Business Forum with their host counterparts.”

According to Shehu, President Buhari will be accompanied by governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and David Umahi (Ebonyi).

Also scheduled for the trip are: ministers Geoffrey Onyeama (Foreign Affairs); Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Defence); Saleh Mamman (Power); Rauf Aregbesola (Interior); Olamilekan Adegbite (Mines and Steel Development); Maigari Dingyadi (Police Affairs) and Mrs. Mariam Katagum (State, Industry, Trade and Investment).

Also on the trip are: National Security Adviser Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno; National Intelligence Agency Director-General, Mr. Ahmed Abubakar and Nigeria Diaspora Commission Chairman/CEO Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Shehu said the President would return to Abuja on Friday.

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