21 Apr 2015

Nigerians protest #Xenophobic attacks in South Africa

The rising toll of deaths from the xenophobic attacks on black foreigners including Nigerians, in South Africa has provoked mass protests in several Nigerian cities, where the protesters have issued clear threats to South African firms and business concerns that unless the attacks are stopped, South African investments in Nigeria will suffer similar fates as Nigerian businesses in South Africa.
Yesterday’s protests spread from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to Benin City, the Edo State capital.


The growing protest and umbrage among Nigerians over the attacks, perhaps forced the federal government monday, to summon the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Mguni, to register its displeasure over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans.

The attacks have claimed the lives of six people and saw to the looting of stores and properties belonging to Nigerians and other foreigners.

Meanwhile, Nigerians under the auspices of One Africa Initiative (OAI) have threatened to unleash its anger on South Africa’s investments in Nigeria.

Piqued by the killings, the group embarked on a peaceful protest yesterday to some offices owned by South African citizens in Abuja including MTN Nigeria, Shoprite stores, the South African High Commission, as well as the United States of America (USA) Embassy where they ended the protest.

In a statement jointly signed by the convener, Mr. Paul Edeh, Founder/ President Brekete Family, Ordinary Ahmad Isah, PMAN Ambassador and gospel artiste Phil Roberts, Jakins Yusuf, Dorathy Joseph and Favour Johnson, OAI threatened to carry out a retaliatory action against South African companies in Nigeria, if the attacks as well as looting and arson against its citizens persist.

Part of the statement read: “Perhaps some of those perpetuating this crime against humanity have forgotten the role Nigeria played towards their independence. They have forgotten so quickly that South Africans also live in Nigeria and also have huge investments.

"Ironically, no Nigerian has attacked MTN, DSTV, Shoprite and many more which are all South African-owned companies since they commenced business in Nigeria.”
The protesters warned the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mguni, to mediate in the ugly development or risk being harassed and embarrassed by Nigerian citizens.
"We are one Africa and together we fought slavery and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we fought colonialism and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we fought apartheid in South Africa and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we will fight xenophobic attacks on Africans and together we will conquer,” the group said.
Responding, Mguni commended the protesters for their peaceful conduct and assured them that the commission had listened to the group’s outcry and promised to convey the message to the South African government.
"Your pain is our own pain. We have cordial relationship with Nigerians; yes of course a lot of problems are on the ground but we said beyond this, let us remain friends," he said.
The managements of MTN and DSTV unanimously condemned the cowardly acts of violence against fellow Africans by South Africans and advocated equality and freedom for all Africans living in the Mandela country.

But despite the peaceable remarks by the South African firms, some youths, under the aegis of The Flagship, have threatened to shut down all South African firms operating in Nigeria.

The aggrieved youths made the threat yesterday during another protest at the office of telecommunications giant, MTN, on 3rd East Circular road, Muritala Muhammed Way, Benin City, capital of Edo State.

The protesters also had placards with several inscriptions, some of which read: "Xenophobia is ‎Inhuman," "Zuma Call Your Boys to Order" and "S/Africans Can't be Making Money From us and Killing us."

The group’s spokesperson, Austin Enabulele, described the attacks as inhuman and condemnable, adding that the protest was a warning to the South African government to put a stop to the attacks on Nigerians or risk losing its foreign investments.

"We are all Africans; we wonder why they should attack our fellow Nigerians who are doing their legitimate businesses in South Africa, when we have shown them love to operate in Nigeria.

"We have come here to say to (President Jacob) Zuma to call his people to order because if he fails to call them to order, we will do the needful. We are aware of all their businesses in Nigeria; we know of MTN; we know of Shoprite; we know of Multichoice company and we know of every other company that belongs to South Africa.

"We will shut down all their services, if they continue the killing of our brothers and sisters. So, we have come here to tell them to put an end to the killing of our brothers and sisters who are doing their legitimate jobs in South Africa," Enabulele said.
Also speaking, the Vice-President of the group, Gloria Noren, decried what she described as the ingratitude of South Africans, whom she said had received financial support from Nigeria during the apartheid era.

She also urged the federal government to commence the immediate evacuation of Nigerians from the crisis-ridden country, in order to forestall further havoc. 

Credit: ThisDay


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