The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to President  Muhammadu Buhari, Abike Dabiri-Erewa has said that the possibility of reprisal attacks on South Africans and their businesses in Nigeria cannot be ruled out.

She stated this in a telephone interview with the Guardian on Tuesday in response to xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa. She stressed that attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa was fuelled by inciting statements linked to a mayor in Pretoria.

“Reprisal attack is a possibility but I’m hoping it does not happen. No responsible government will encourage reprisal attacks because that will mean bringing yourself lower than them,” she said.

Describing the attacks as “unnecessary setback,” she said that the South African Police authorities have re-assured the Nigerian Mission in South Africa that they will henceforth provide protection for Nigerians.

In a related development, the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf has dismissed concerns over reprisal attacks on South African businesses in Nigeria. He said although there may be a couple of protests, Nigeria and Nigerians are not violent and that they tend to lose a lot whenever such things happen.

“Nigerians have a lot to lose if such reprisal actions occur. However, I do not see that happening. Nigerians are not crude,” he maintained.

MTN, Eskom Nigeria, South African Airways, Stanbic Merchant Bank of Nigeria, MultiChoice, Protea Hotels and Shoprite are some of the South African enterprises that could be affected if there was any reprisal attack.