Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs secretary blamed for SA/Nigeria spat

Danjuma Sheni said their chief envoy to South Africa was recalled in protest against xenophobia.

President Jacob Zuma and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Picture: GCIS

PRETORIA - Nigeria's top public servant in its Foreign Affairs Ministry has reportedly been suspended for saying their chief envoy to South Africa has been recalled in protest against attacks on foreigners.

Nigeria Government's looking into why the official should not be disciplined for embarrassing the country.

Nigeria's media is reporting that outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan was hopping mad at hearing the statement that Nigeria's acting High Commissioner to Pretoria and Consul General in Johannesburg had been withdrawn.

His spokesman said the envoys were merely summoned for routine consultations.

The statement by permanent secretary Danjuma Sheni was given credibility by Nigeria's action last week of calling in South Africa's ambassador to Abuja, Lulu Mnguni, and dressing him down over the xenophobic violence in Durban and Johannesburg.

South Africa responded furiously to the reported recall and has since dismissed this as the behaviour of an outgoing regime.

At the weekend, Nigeria's acting High Commissioner Martin Cobham was recalled.

Before leaving Pretoria, Cobham told South African officials his recall from Nigeria's Consulate General in Johannesburg reflects Abuja's outrage at the wave of anti-immigrant attacks.

Nigeria's government on Tuesday backtracked from the tough stance it took following the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa.

Nigeria's Foreign Minister Aminu Wali said there are satisfactory indications that this country has taken firm measures to stem the tide of the attacks.