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Jim Ovia withdraws from World Economic Forum

Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, has pulled out of the World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, over the poor state of security of foreign nationals in the country.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced its decision to pull out of the forum and to recall Nigeria’s high commissioner to South Africa over attacks on citizens and their businesses in that country.

Ovia and Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, had come under criticism on social media for their participation in the meeting, with some Nigerians describing their action as ”insensitive”.

In a statement on Thursday, Ovia said he was withdrawing from further participation in the forum to add his voice against the poor state of security of foreign nationals in South Africa.

Before exiting the forum, the entrepreneur asked the South African government to focus on youth empowerment to curb continual attacks on foreign nationals.

Mrs Ezekwesili has, however, at the forum, spoke strongly against the attacks on foreigners in South Africa, in a video shared severally in Twitter.

Gov. Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state, Emir of Kano, Dr Muhammad Sanusi as well as the co-founder of Access Bank, Aig Imoukhuede, were pictured at the WEF in South Africa.

South Africa has come under heavy criticism for its handling of attacks against foreign nationals, in what citizens of African countries consider xenophobic.

In the meantime, Nigerians are also coming under heavy criticism for turning the anti-xenophobic protests into vandalism of business property perceived to be owned by South Africans.

Facility manager, Jabi lake mall, in the FCT, Mr Luka Omotosho said 90 per cent of the workforce in Shoprite are Nigerians, positing that hurting the store is hurting their economic livelihood.

Zambians have also attacked South African malls in their country.

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