The President of Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria (AFRPN), Amb. Gani Lawal, has said that Nigerian cannot severe diplomatic ties with South Africa over xenophobic attacks.
Dr Lawal, a former Nigeria Deputy Principal Representative in Algeria, said this in an interview News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
NAN reports that killing of Nigerians in South Africa had been on the increase in recent times.
A report had stated that no fewer than 117 Nigerians were extra-judicially killed in South Africa between 2013 and 2018 for one flimsy reason or the other.
According to Lawal, we cannot because of xenophobic attacks break diplomatic relations with South Africa because the issue is not between government and government.
”We will continue to work with South Africa to make sure that offenders are apprehended and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others,” he said.
The former director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the issue of killings in South Africa was not between government and government but among the people on the streets.
“However, South African government also has the responsibility to protect our people and also to advise them on where to go and not to go.
“We have to be able to find a ground to ensure that the attack doesn’t happen by establishing rules of engagement,” he said.
The former director said that the present administration had been doing a lot to strengthen the Nigerian foreign policy.
He said the association was ready to assist the government in ensuring that the government achieves its goal on foreign policy and strengthen ties with other countries.
According to him, what we do is to work behind the scene by doing research using our experience to advise the government.
He said that the formation of AFRPN was to fill a vacuum in the country in terms of providing credible advice to the government on foreign relations.
He added that the association would be formally inaugurated on Tuesday, July 31, by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II
Lawal said the event, would also feature inaugural lecture titled, “The New International System: A Diplomat’s Nightmare” to be delivered by Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, former Foreign Affairs Minister.
He said the association’s “Peer-Review Journal” would be launched by business moguls Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Abdulsamad Ishyaku Rabiu, Femi Otedola, and Mr Tunde Folawiyo.
Lawal said the association was founded to serve as a think-tank to the Federal Government and other stakeholders on foreign relations matters.
“The AFRPN was established as a legal body to engage in scholarly research, coupled with our experience to positively impact on the foreign policy process and practice of our country through an interactive process drawing both from the diplomats and the academia,” he said.
He said when inaugurated the association would be able to advise the government on foreign policy.
According to him, most of the pieces of advice that people often give are based on guess work and that is why we are coming on board to offer help to the government based on experience and research.
“So we feel that those who have experience in foreign relations can assist in filling necessary vacuums.
“Those of us who have gone all over the world should be able to put our heads together to advise the government on foreign issues.
“Also, government can also look at our ways when there are issues to be dealt with and we also are ready to give government the alternative way of doing things,” he said.