Nigeria is set to repatriate more than 600 of its nationals from South Africa after a wave of xenophobic violence which led to tensions between the two countries.
The Nigeria’s Consul General Godwin Adama speaking to BBC in Johannesburg said that some of them will leave on two flights on Wednesday.
Ten people, including two foreigners, were killed in the city last week when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses.
The attacks started after lorry drivers staged a strike to protest against the employment of foreigners.
South Africa has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa as it has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies.
However the Sub-Saharan country is also grappling with high levels of unemployment and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs.
Mr. Adama said only those who were under distress as a result of the attacks would leave the country.
Meanwhile, Abike Dabiri, head of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, said the government would not provide financial assistance to those leaving South Africa.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, she said the Nigerian government would continue to hold the South African authorities accountable and insist it paid compensation to its citizens.
On Sunday, two people were killed as violence erupted in Johannesburg after a speech by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a former leader of the opposition Inkatha Freedom Party and minister in the country’s unity government after the end of apartheid.
Mr Buthelezi, who was trying to quell tensions over xenophobia, was heckled by a rowdy section of the crowd who later clashed with security forces. Video shared on Twitter showed people walking out of the meeting.
People then targeted cars and buildings, which were set alight, Johannesburg Metro Police Department chief David Tembe told Eyewitness News, saying it was “pure criminality” as some of the shops attacked belonged to South Africans.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sent an envoy to South Africa last week to “express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens”.
In a statement, the president’s office said the envoy had “stressed the need for the South African government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations”.
President Ramaphosa “agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing,” the statement added.
The African Union Chairperson in a statement last week strongly to condemned the attacks. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said it is disheartening for the South Africans to attack their fellow Africans including the looting and destruction of their property.
He reiterated the African Union’s Commission continued commitment to helping South Africa address the root causes that led to the violence.