File: A Shoprite outlet. AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei
ABUJA - Security was ramped up around South African businesses across Nigeria on Wednesday following a wave of reprisal attacks in response to violence against foreign-owned shops in South Africa, police said.
The move came a day after stores operated by the major supermarket chain, Shoprite, the telecoms giant MTN and other South African firms suffered looting and vandalism in several Nigerian cities, they said.
"We have stepped up security around MTN, Shoprite and other South African businesses across Nigeria," national police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP.
South Africa has huge investments in Nigeria, with Shoprite, MTN, digital pay-television Multichoice and other companies jostling for a share of the continent's biggest market.
AFP reporters saw a heavy security presence Wednesday at Shoprite's office at the Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, where MTN also has a branch.
All gates leading into the mall were closed and customers were screened before they were allowed to enter.
"We are in full operations, what we have done is however to intensify security," said a manager for the mall, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Our action is based on what has happened across the country in reaction to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Every customer coming in from today will be screened properly before he or she is allowed in," he said.
Nigeria on Tuesday summoned the South African ambassador for talks and said President Muhammadu Buhari was sending an envoy to convey his displeasure to President Cyril Ramaphosa.