Senate President Ahmad Lawan yesterday said adequate measures must be taken to halt incessant killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
According to him, the killing and molestation of Nigerians in South Africa and in other countries would continue unless necessary diplomatic steps were taken.
He reiterated that Nigeria would no longer tolerate the killing of its citizens in South Africa under any guise.
Lawan’s stern warning came as the immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama appeared before the Senate for screening and confirmation for reappointment.
The Senate President, who did not hide his disappointment over the continued killing of Nigerians in South Africa, said he had written the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to furnish him with the number of Nigerians so far killed in South Africa.
He said he would also write the South African Government to ask what the country is doing to stop the killing of Nigerians in the former apartheid country.
Lawan said: “I personally met with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria. If we don’t get things in place, more Nigerians maybe killed abroad. Even if Nigerians commit crimes, killing them should not be the first option. This has got to stop.
“I have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I have asked them to furnish us with names of Nigerians killed in South Africa so far. We are going to write to the South African Government and we will put an end to these killings.”
Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu also highlighted the maltreatment of Nigerians by officials of American Embassy.
The Abia North senator insisted that something must be done to ensure that Nigerians get fair treatment without any harassment.
Onyeama noted that some criminal elements in the Nigerian community in South Africa were a setback for them.
The nominee told the Senate that plans were underway to halt the killing.
According to him, a frame work has been formulated for Nigerian Presidents and South Africa President to meet regularly to talk about more bilateral agreements and about how to solve some of the problems.
On the non-payment of salaries of embassy staff members in Washington DC, the nominee noted that allocations and releases to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet its financial obligations to foreign mission staff was not enough.
Onyeama said one of the ways out of the problem was to further reduce the number of foreign missions.
He said the country should focus on missions it can finance to avoid over-stretching its resources.
The nominee noted that he raised the issue at the Federal Executive Council meeting on how to fund foreign missions or reduce the number where necessary.
On maltreatment of Nigerians and non-issuance of visas, Onyeama noted that the country should develop adequate response strategy.
He said: “Because of the situation in South Africa, I went there myself and met with officials. I also met with Nigerians there. There was a trust deficit between the South African police and Nigerians. We met with some Government officials there to have regular meetings with Nigerian unions and High Commission.
“The South African Government is not complicit in the killing of Nigerians. Whoever takes over as Foreign Affairs Minister will have to put in a line a contact line to always be in contact with the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“We have worked on stolen funds. I worked with some countries to ensure that funds were repatriated. Economic diplomacy is something we should really push going forward.”
A former Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Goddy Jedy- Agba, who also appeared for screening said that it was possible to end subsidy regime in the country.
Jeddy-Agba advocated the establishment of a control room, equipped with competent professionals and modern technology, to end oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
The Cross River State nominee pledged to push for the optimum functionality of all the government owned refineries and the completion of the privately owned refinery under construction as we well as the establishment of modular refineries if appointed as a minister.
He said that the government did not need to pay trillion of tax payers’ money to subsidise imported refined petroleum products once crude would be taken directly to the existing functional refineries across the country.
He said: “We don’t need to import petroleum products. What we need to do is to strengthen the various agencies to checkmate the actual crude being loaded and write report.
“We do not have the technology to monitor the process of loading up to the point of export. For now, it is the International Oil Companies that determine the quantity of crude they export because we don’t have control over their operations.
“If I am in that ministry, I will push for the establishment of a control room where we will monitor the process of crude loading up to the point of export. We can do that Nigeria”
Jeddy-Agba also said the best way to stop pipeline vandalism was to lay the types of pipes that would be difficult to destroy while drones should be deployed to monitor those pipes and pour hot waters on the vandals.