Xenophobia: 20 shops belonging to immigrants burnt in South Africa – Police
*We shall resist them and urge retaliation against South Africans outside
*116 Nigerians killed in two years – Abike Dabiri-Erewa
*We can also be violent when pushed to the wall – Rep Orji
At least 20 shops belonging to immigrants were looted in South Africa’s capital overnight, police said, Tuesday, but could not confirm if the attacks had deliberately targeted foreigners. This is even as the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni, condemned the attack on Nigerians in very strong words, saying the attack violated all the values of South Africans.
However, the attacks on Nigerians has propelled the National Assembly to want to review all laws that have to do with Nigerian citizens in other countries, with a view to bringing an end to all unwarranted attacks on her people.
South African police said they did not yet know the motive for the latest attacks. No deaths had been reported. Police spokeswoman, Mathapelo Peters, said: “There are allegations that these shops belong to foreign nationals. It is alleged that the community members are saying that these shops were used for drug dealing but that is unconfirmed. We will only be able to start a formal investigation once the shop owners come forward.”
Attack violates values of S/Africans —S-African govt: The South African government, however, condemned the violence against Nigerians in strongest possible terms, saying the attack violated all the values of South Africans.
South African High Commission to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni, who spoke for his government in Abuja, said: “When you talk of Thabo (Mbeki), he taught us about respecting humanity that must work towards people realising their full humanness because our struggle against apartheid was a struggle against dehumanisation of people, it was a struggle for human rights. And given the basis of our constitution, the basis of our foreign policies is that of human rights.
“The mob attack defies South African values for respect of human life, human dignity because we say ‘I am because you are’. I cannot realise my full humanity without you realising your own and also no amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals.”
NASS to review laws on Diaspora issues: Meanwhile, the National Assembly is planning to review all laws that have to do with Nigerian citizens in other countries to bring to an end all unwarranted attacks on the people. This is as the Federal Government delegation expected to leave soon for South Africa, will be interacting with Nigerians in the country, especially in Pretoria, to determine the level of the attacks and the reasons behind them.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters, Rita Orji, who disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, said attacks on Nigerians had persisted because the Federal Government had not taken any drastic action to retaliate the attacks.
She said if there had been punitive measures taken against South Africa, the matter would have stopped by now.
On the efforts made so far to protect Nigerians abroad, Orji said: “I think we have thrown that matter to the Foreign Affairs Minister because the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs was here with us on Monday.
“We as members of the National Assembly have dusted our legislation as regards making sure that things are ratified. On the side of government, I am not in the executive, I am in the legislature and you can see that we have not closed our eyes since the matter broke up and we are even the ones that started talking about it first before others.
“I am part of government. If I say government has not done well, I am indicting myself, I am part of government but the call I am putting across is that every one of us should wake up. Nigerians should not be valued only when we hear that they did something wonderful and we applaud them, that is not the issue.
“The issue is that their welfare and protection must come as a priority. Diasporas are not criminals, they are human beings, they are part of us.”
Protect Nigerians, other Africans in your country: Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora has called on the South African government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans within South African borders.
She equally called on the African Union to intervene urgently in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.
The Nigerian Community in South Africa led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
Anyene said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.
“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans”, Anyene said.
Disturbed by this renewed attacks, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerians to be extra cautious as it looks like South African government seems to have no control over these attacks.
The SSA, however, urged restraint on the part of Nigerians and warned that further attacks without any reprimand may have dire consequences.
Dabiri-Erewa said the attention of the AU was being called to intervene because information had it that there will be another xenophobic attacks against foreigners on 22nd February and 23rd February (today and tomorrow).
“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” she said.
It will be recalled that Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had two weeks ago met with South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni on the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
Mr Aaron-Mnguni then promised that the South African government was investigating the matter.
“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed. This is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Attack South African businesses back home: Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the attacks in South Africa in recorded messages using the social networks have promised to resist the attacks while calling on their folks back home to attack South African business interests.
One of such messages that is being wildly circulated was made available to www.gongnews.net which was very explicit explaining that a handful of persons are actually behind the attacks.