The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammadu Bello, has appealed to its residents, especially students and youth, to eschew retaliatory attacks on South African nationals and business interests in the territory over the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
Mr Bello said the Federal Government was already exploiting diplomatic channels to address the issue and appealed that residents should allow those efforts to succeed.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Shoprite malls were attacked in Lagos and Ibadan on Tuesday.
Also, some protesters on Wednesday morning stormed a Shoprite mall in Abuja to protest the attack on Nigerians in South Africa.
The protesters, who appear to have been prevented by the police from attacking the mall, burnt tyres and a billboard along the Abuja airport road.
Their actions caused a traffic build-up on the Abuja-airport expressway causing diversion of traffic.
Shoprite, a retail shopping outlet of South African origin, has been a major victim of retaliatory attacks by Nigerians.
The attacks on Nigerian businesses is part of a wider attack by South Africans on foreign-owned businesses, mainly those owned by other Africans.
Nigerians on social media have called for a boycott of South African businesses across the country. Shoprite is one of the major businesses owned by South Africans in Nigeria, some of which include high investments in real estate, telecommunications and retailing.
However, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday afternoon and signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, the FCT minister said those South African business interests in the FCT are in partnership with Nigerian investors and are contributing to the economic development of the territory.
“We want to inform the residents that those South African business interests in the FCT are in partnership with Nigerian investors and are contributing to the economic development of the Territory. Attacking or vandalising them will ultimately have negative economic consequences for the Nigerian economy and employees of those organisations, ” he said.
He assured South African nationals and business interests in the FCT of their safety, saying ” it was the pleasure of the FCT Administration to have them living and working in the Federal Capital Territory.”
He appealed to FCT residents to remain calm and go about their lawful activities.
“Law enforcement agencies have been mobilised to forestall any breakdown of law and order and anybody instigating or participating in any acts of violence or vandalism will face the wrath of the law, ” he said