Nigeria reacts to xenophobic attacks in South Africa

By Sulaiman Alamutu

President Jacub Zuma of South Africa

President Jacub Zuma of South Africa

Reactions have continued to trail the on-going xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other non-South Africans blacks in South Africa.

The Federal Government has directed Nigerians citizens living in South Africa to remain
indoors until peace resumes.

Similarly, the lower chamber of the National Assembly has also asked the government to recall the country’s ambassador to South Africa for consultations over the widespread attacks and killing of
non-South African blacks.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali said that the directive has been communicated to Nigeria’s mission in Pretoria.

He said discussions with Nigeria’s Head of Mission in Pretoria showed that no Nigerian has so far been affected.

Wali, however, stressed that Nigeria was not prepared to allow any of its nationals to be subjected to such inhuman treatment.

He said the government would not hesitate to evacuate Nigerians from the country if the situation worsened.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to recall the country’s ambassador to South Africa for consultations over the widespread attacks and killing of non-South African blacks.

A motion, debated by the parliamentarians in Abuja, highlighted the plight of African migrants in South Africa, whom they said were being slaughtered like animals by black South Africans.

The motion stressed that Nigerians were among the victims.

The House specifically requested South African President, Jacob Zuma, to immediately investigate the attacks and punish those responsible.

The motion was sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

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Many members, who contributed to the debate, expressed sadness over the turn of events in South Africa.

They recalled with pain, the sacrifices Nigeria made to free South Africa from the clutches of apartheid.

In a related development, Nigerians have staged a peaceful protest at the South African embassy in Lagos against the xenophobic attacks in Durban.

The protesters demanded a boycott of South African services and interests across Nigeria which includes telecommunications and supermarket outlets.

At least, five people, have been killed and foreign-owned shops looted in the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in the last one week.

Locals accused foreigners of taking their jobs, where the official unemployment rate is put at 24 per cent.

One of the protesters, Tolulope Adesanya, said that in addition to boycotting services like MTN Telecoms, and DSTV cable network.

He also said that they would petition the United Nations and African Union (AU) leaders to sanction South Africa.

He said this may also take them to International Criminal Court at the Hague.

Meanwhile, the South African President, Jacob Zuma, has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to resolve the violence against foreign nationals after a recent surge in attacks targeting Africans.

Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, said the South Africa was determined to stamp out the violence and ensure that people can live in peace in the country.

According to him, no grievance or concern is enough to justify acts of criminality and violence against foreign or even South African nationals.

Gigaba said that president Zuma’s call for calm was timely, adding that the government intended to prosecute and punish those found guilty of xenophobic attacks.

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