24/02/2017 05:51 GMT | Updated 24/02/2017 06:25 GMT

MTN Shut Its Offices In Nigeria Following A Storming By Protesters Over SA's Anti-Immigrant March

"We had to hurriedly lock up and go home. I don't see them as protesters but as people who came to steal and cause confusion."

Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters
A local security staff member places a notice on the wall after anti-South African protesters attacked the MTN office in Abuja, Nigeria February 23, 2017.

Police in Nigeria are reportedly guarding offices of the mobile phone giant MTN in the capital Abuja after protesters against xenophobic attacks in South Africa tried to storm it on Thursday.

According to BBC, the offices were sealed off and no-one was "being allowed to enter the building".

An unnamed senior manager at the Abuja office allegedly confirmed the development.

"We had to hurriedly lock up and go home. I don't see them as protesters but as people who came to steal and cause confusion.

"It is a case of invasion. They came, opened the gate, entered and harassed people. They stole customers' phones; they stole the phones and laptops of staff. There were up to 30 policemen but they didn't do anything to stop them," Nigeria's Daily Post newspaper quoted the manager as saying.

The source condemned the invasion, saying that the protesters could have made their point in a more civilised way, the report said.

Meanwhile, reports indicated that the telecoms giant released a statement, expressing its concerns and calling for calm.

'Stop killing our people'

"MTN Group expresses concern over the violence. MTN requests people to exercise restraint and remain calm," MTN stated, according to BrandArena Africa.

Earlier reports indicated that Nigerians staged an anti-xenophobia protest outside the South African embassy in Abuja on Wednesday, calling on authorities to "stop attacks on African nationals".

The protest, organised by members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, urged the South African government to urgently address the situation.

The protesters carried placards such as "South Africa we say stop killing our people" and chanted slogans denouncing the attacks, the report said.

"We are doing this because of the killings taking place in South Africa, we want to express our displeasure over that and urge them to take measures to address the situation.

"We presented a petition in which we want them to call their people to order. We have foreigners here and it will not be good if there is reprisal attacks that will not make world a peaceful place to live," one of the protesters was quoted as saying.

Outbreaks of xenophobia violence were recently reported in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

In the last week, more than 20 shops have been targeted in Atteridgeville, outside Pretoria, and at least 12 houses have been attacked in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, reports said.