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Xenophobic attacks condemnable –FG

Posted: Apr 18, 2015 at 3:07 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Stella Omona and Innocent Oweh


The Federal Government has condemned the ongoing xenophobic attack being carried out by South Africans on Nigerians and other Africans residing in the country.

In a statement on Thursday night by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, the Federal Government described the act as “unprovoked and condemnable attacks.”

Xenophobic attacks in S'Africa

Xenophobic attacks in S’Africa

The Ministry stated “the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has received reports of xenophobic attacks in South Africa directed at migrants and migrant workers, especially of African origin. The attacks, according to the reports began two weeks ago with locals attacking and looting properties owned by fellow Africans including Nigerians.

The attacks have led to the death of five people and the displacement of over 2000. Among those killed was a 14-years-old. The people and Government of Nigeria stands in solidarity with the rest of the world to condemn these unprovoked attacks on fellow Africans who have left their countries to seek greener pastures and better livelihood for themselves.
“The Government of Nigeria would like to use this medium to reiterate its abhorrence of violence and also stand firm in its conviction that no course will justify taking innocent lives.

“The Federal Government therefore calls on the Government of South Africa to live up to its responsibilities and take all necessary steps to stop the ongoing xenophobic attacks and put in place policies and structures to prevent a reoccurrence. It is gratifying to note, however, that the South African President, Jacob Zuma, has condemned the attack. In addition, the city of Durban has also organised rallies against xenophobia,” the statement noted.

Before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the statement, the House of Representatives had earlier mandated President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently recall the Nigeria Ambassador to  South Africa for further consultation in the wake of the xenophobic attacks that has led to the death of 10 Nigerians in that country.

Just as Nigeria is taking its stand on the matter, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), heads of state and government, has condemned the xenophobic murder of innocent African foreigners in South Africa, describing it as barbaric and criminal and urged the South African government to act quickly to stop the attacks.

An ECOWAS statement signed by the Chair of the Authority,  John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana, on Friday in Abuja also condemned the individual South Africans involved in the act.

The West African body described as a pity, the fact that the very people, whose nations sacrificed to help South Africans fight, repel and defeat apartheid, would today be considered aliens and hacked to death in such barbaric manners.

“We welcome the statement of our brother, President Jacob Zuma, and his assurances of a peaceful resolution, but we request for an urgent national action plan, backed by a behavioural change campaign against xenophobia in South Africa,” the statement said.

In similar reactions, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have condemned xenophobic attacks on Nigerian citizens living in South Africa, while taking a swipe on the Nigerian government for not being proactive in stemming the tide.

NANS members who staged a peaceful protest at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja on Friday, warned that multi-national firms owned by the South African government might suffer adverse effect from the xenophobic killings.

Scores of Nigerian citizens, including those from other East and West Africa countries have been unjustly killed in a new wave of attacks in South Africa.

Oluwatosin Ogunkuade, NANS Vice President, External Affairs who led the protest said it was regrettable that the Federal Government of Nigeria has maintained lackadaisical stance since the incident broke out in pursuing justice for the victims.

He queried why Nigerian students still have to go abroad for studies, saying it was an indication of deterioration of Nigerian education system and government’s failure to address the lapses.

“The students body ended the protest by submitting a nine-point demand outlining actions expected of the Nigerian government to Ambassador Godwin Agama, Under Secretary for African Affairs, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Meanwhile, TUC said there are serious concern of adverse effect and the implications of the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa.

TUC President, Bobbio Bala Kaigama, in a statement condemning the attacks, urged the Jacob Zuma-led government to live up to its responsibilities by taking all necessary steps to stop the dastardly act of stealing, killing and taking over of people’s properties in Jo-burg, Durban and Pretoria.

He said the act at this time and age is appalling, abysmal and beastly.

“It is true that the governments of South Africa as well as other countries of the world have condemned the attacks, yet we demand that the government investigate and punish those involved in accordance with the provisions of the law of the land.

“Again, if the comments we have read in the dailies and social media credited to the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini and son of Zuma, Edward, asking non South African to return to their countries is anything to go by, then it means they have forgotten in a hurry how Nigeria and the rest of the world rallied and mobilised support for the country during its apartheid experience.

“Indeed, what is happening is nothing but a demonstration of shortness of memory and we feel more terrible about the whole thing because of the underground role of some prominent people in government,” Kaigama stated.