Youths protesting the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa on Wednesday made a bonfire on the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road, Lugbe, Abuja, a few metres from a South African franchise, Shoprite Mall.
Billowing smoke from the bonfire paralysed vehicular traffic on the Expressway as security agents mounted guard over the shopping mall which failed to open for fear of being attacked.
Men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and armed policemen were seen providing security in the area.
Similarly, a branch of Shoprite at Jabi, Abuja, was under heavy police protection to deter would-be protesters or looters.
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Speaking on a radio programme, the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, said he had deployed police personnel across the city to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised Nigerians in South Africa against going to volatile and high-risk areas until the tense situation was brought under control.
It commended the arrest of 70 suspects in connection with the attacks and looting of shops belonging to some Nigerians by the SA authorities.
The MFA spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement assured Nigerians in South Africa of the protection of the Federal Government.
Nigeria police beef up security at SA-owned shops
Meanwhile Nigerian police have beefed up security outside South African-owned businesses in the capital, Abuja, the BBC’s Ishaq Khalid reports.
They are expecting protests following the violence in South Africa, where some foreign-owned businesses have been targeted.
Shops of the South African telecoms giant MTN are among the possible targets for protests, our correspondent says.
The Reuters news agency is reporting that MTN has decided to close all its outlets until further notice.
“The safety and security of our customers, staff and partners is our primary concern,” Reuters quotes an MTN Nigeria statement as saying.
On Tuesday, witnesses told the BBC that a branch of the South African supermarket Shoprite was vandalised in the Lagos neighbourhood of Lekki.