Xenophobic Attack: Recall Ambassador Reps tell Jonathan | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Xenophobic Attack: Recall Ambassador Reps tell Jonathan

Posted: Apr 17, 2015 at 2:07 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By David Odama (Abuja) and Funmi Falobi (Lagos)


The House of Representatives on Thursday mandated President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently recall the Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa for further consultations in the wake of the Xenophobic attacks that has led to the death of 10 Nigerians in that country.

The House made the resolution during its proceedings on Thursday, as xenophobic attacks increased against Nigerians and other migrant Africans in Johannesburg last Friday, April 10.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas (middle), and United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, during their  courtesy visit on the President at State House, Abuja, on Thursday.

President Goodluck Jonathan (right), Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas (middle), and United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, during their courtesy visit on the President at State House, Abuja, on Thursday.

According to reports, besides Nigerians, five Gabonese, 10 Somalis and five Congolese students were also killed, with some of their bodies set ablaze during the attack. The South Africans claim that black migrants from other African countries are taking all the jobs available in their country, leaving the citizens jobless, and slowly taking over their economy.

The call followed a motion of urgent public importance brought before it by Abike Dabire, who lamented the predicament being face by Nigerians in South Africa.

She recalled the role Nigeria played in South Africa anti-apartheid struggle, wondering why innocent Nigerians should suffer such humiliations, torture and killing in that country.

The lawmaker said Nigeria must find a way of stopping the killings, adding that such act was not healthy for the good relationship expected between the two countries.

While noting that the situation do not represent the Spirit of late Nelson Mandela an Africa union, Dabiri-Erewa called on the Federal government to act fast so as to avoid further loss of lives.

Contributing to the motion, Mohammed Garba Dati, also expressed worry that after spending its resources during the South Africa struggle, Nigerian citizens do not deserve such level of humiliation in the hands of South Africans.

Some members also urged Nigeria to severe its relationship with South Africa by ceiling up most investments of its nationals in the country.

The lawmakers also called on President Jonathan to draw the attention of South African President Jacob Zuma to Nigeria’s concern feels regarding the safety of its citizens in his country.

They also charged Jonathan to send a high-profile delegation to South Africa to ascertain the true situation of things.

**The House in its resolution, which was chaired by the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that Nigerians are evacuated from the violence-prone areas.

The member representing Edo Central, Friday Itula, said, “South Africa has forgotten the Big Brother role Nigeria played in giving it independence during the reign of Apartheid.

“Nigeria should recall its ambassador and other African countries should do the same by cutting off diplomatic ties, so that they will know that Nigeria and Africans are ready for action.

“It is not even just enough to call back our envoy to South Africa, we must make sure that lost businesses are compensated and bread winners that lost their lives are paid for.’’

Chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who raised the motion bemoaned the killings, calling the Federal Government to act fast before further damage is done.

She also called on Zuma to ensure that no Nigerians are further killed.

Speaking with Daily Independent on telephone on Thursday from Lagos, she said: “I raised a motion on it in the House today. (We) resolved that the Nigerian Ambassador be recalled for further consultations. It is a condemnable act in all ramifications.

“Zuma must, as a matter of urgency, ensure no Nigerians are further killed and those guilty for murder must be punished. The AU must also intervene as blacks killing blacks is shameful, pathetic and must be stopped.

“This is not what Nelson Mandela lived and died for. Nigerians are unsafe in South Africa and the Federal Government should prepare for emergency evacuation of Nigerians if situation is not curbed.”

Chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, called on the Federal Government to initiate moves to evacuate Nigerians in South Africa following recent xenophobic attacks.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, Ukeje said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria should rise up to the occasion by having contingency plans to evacuate Nigerians within 24 hours to avoid us losing our citizens to these attacks. It is expedient to think of where all Nigerians can gather within 24 hours for safety either in our embassy or mission for the safety of our citizens.”

Also speaking, chairperson of the House committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the attacks and said the House of Representative members will move a motion in its next plenary session to discuss the attacks.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa has advised Nigerians to move out of the violence-prone areas of South Africa as soon as possible.

The wave of anti-foreigner violence and killings in and around the South African city of Durban in recent days, spread to the town centre on Tuesday, local media reported, with police firing rubber bullets to disperse angry crowds.

Protests were held by both immigrants and locals, some brandishing hatchets and machetes, footage from a local TV news channel showed, with shops by foreigners in Durban, a key port on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coast, have been looted and burnt during the violence.

This is not the first time such type of violence is happening in the country. In 2008, over 60 foreigners were killed in similar unrest as locals vented frustrations against their own problems, particularly the lack of jobs in the continent’s most advanced economy, where unemployment rate is officially put at 25 per cent but is widely believed to be higher.

Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulu nation was recently quoted as calling for deportation of foreign migrants, accusing them of stealing jobs from locals, among others.

Reports quote experts as saying South Africa’s immigration law makes it almost impossible for most foreigners to work legitimately in the country.

There are an estimated are three million Zimbabweans in the country, of which only 250,000 likely have permits, leaves over two million others undocumented. This is just a fraction of the several millions of illegal immigrants living in South Africa.

Thousands of South Africans and some foreign nationals, on Thursday gathered in Durban for a Peace March against xenophobia.

Earlier, according to one report, over 100 Benoni residents gathered in the city centre and blockaded roads, asking for foreigners to leave.

The African Union condemned xenophobic attacks, with the African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma describing it as “unacceptable.”

The UN Commission for Refugees, there were 315,000 seeking asylum, most of who are from Zimbabwe (43,000), Ethiopia (4,600) and others (189,000), out of which 63,000 were assisted by the commission.