President Jacob Zuma visited in Nigeria to strengthen socio-economic relations and deepen existing co-operation in education. Picture: Vukile Mathabela / Presidency

Cape Town - Nigerian civil groups and citizens were outraged to find a big bronze statue of President Jacob Zuma towering over their heads in Imo State.

Zuma was on a visit to Nigeria at the weekend in a bid to "strengthen economic ties" and was awarded several honours. He also had road named after him.

The statue was unveiled by the state governor Rochas Okorocha.

The statue was met with disapproval as Nigerians condemned Okorocha and expressed how unsafe they feel in SA due to xenophobic attacks.

But Zuma had a word or two about the xenophobic incidents. 

"A South African must not kill a Nigerian and a Nigerian must also not kill a South African,” he said in a speech after the unveiling. He insisted that xenophobia should cease.

The statue is reported to have cost R20 million, prompting South Africans and Nigerians to ask why the money was not spent on bettering the lives of poor Nigerians.

It is alleged that government workers and pensioners have not been paid for months.