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Why South Africans attack Nigerians

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor and Chuks Nwanne
28 December 2018   |   2:48 am
When Anthony Ezeanya moved into a modest flat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in 2002, the place was predominantly a highbrow area reserved for South Africa’s elite. By the time he relocated to another part of the city, in 2008, Hillbrow had been completely taken over by crime lords.

When Anthony Ezeanya moved into a modest flat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, in 2002, the place was predominantly a highbrow area reserved for South Africa’s elite. By the time he relocated to another part of the city, in 2008, Hillbrow had been completely taken over by crime lords.

The place was once the partying circuit of South Africa and the trendiest area in the City of Gold. But now, red curtains, crack cocaine and heroin have replaced high heels, mini-skirts and fanciful dresses.

In the 70s, Hillbrow was a fashionable place to live; nightclubs in the area used to close at dawn and people could walk home without fear of molestation. But in the last decade, most of the hotels have been turned into residential brothels, while the once famous Ponte City, the round hollow high-rise dotting the skyline, has become a den for drug dealers and criminals.

For most ordinary South Africans, the thought of adventuring into the once vibrant Hillbrow is now nil. This area is where a lot of Nigerians begin their hustle in South Africa.

On a Sunday morning, everywhere is always calm, as residents would have gone to church. Yet the apparent calm is always misleading. Soon as they come back, Hillbrow wears its ugly look: Crime.

There are no few minutes pass without the sound of screaming sirens or gunshots and police raids. “Many of the houses are empty and derelict. Rent is cheap, like it is anywhere that Nigerians populate and you could even rent a six-roomed penthouse in Ponte City for as low as 2, 000 rand a month,” said Tshepiso Tsele, a South African civil servant.

Why South Africans hate foreign nationals
FELIX Ndukwe, an academic in one of the universities in South Africa, singled out the area as a major flashpoint for crime in Johannesburg. “My brother, that’s the Ajegunle in South Africa; the heart of all Nigerian madness here. I don’t even go there, because it is not safe. It’s the centre of Nigeria’s notoriety. However, there are so many Nigerians conducting genuine business in that area, but it’s not a safe place to go. As a normal person, you are not safe in Hillbrow, unless you are part of that society,” he noted.

Though, crime is everywhere, just like it is in Nigeria, Ndukwe said the only difference is that in Johannesburg, you could be robbed on the road where people are passing without any form of intervention, nobody cares even when you cry for help.

In Lagos, residents, sometimes, make efforts to prevent a robbery attack, that’s not the case with Johannesburg, where he currently resides.“You could just park your car at the front of a house with people standing by and it would be broken into and everybody pretends not to see it. This cannot happen in any Nigerian city, because, at the shout of ‘thief’, mob justice will be delivered on the person,” he noted.

Ironically, a 2018 survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed that Johannesburg is the most liveable of African cities and 86th in the world. The table ranks 140 cities on a range of factors, including political and social stability, crime, education and access to healthcare.
Akinola Ajenifuja, a theatre arts graduate from one of the universities in South West of Nigeria, who is based in Midram, told The Guardian that the xenophobic act is a combination of mixed-factors.

His words, “most South Africans, after the severely lengthy apartheid regime, which locked them in and kept them away from contact with other African nationals, have been finding it extremely difficult to relate and be receptive to foreigners.”

According to him, “it shouldn’t surprise you that even if foreigners leave South Africa, the many years of systemic divisions among the ethnic groups in the country will keep them divided. Apartheid, therefore, remains the numero uno foundational reason for most attacks.”Ajenifuja, who is a cleric, said, “the poverty level among black South Africans is very disheartening. Even after the advent of democracy, the very wide divide of the extremely poor and extremely rich still subsists.”

He added, “there is a lack of drive amongst South Africans and are comfortable with self-pity and entitlement mentality. Unlike visitors, South African citizens seem extremely reliant on government to do virtually everything. Other African nations, however, have become used to finding a way out of dire situations, due to ineptitude of their leadership. So, when other African nationals get to South Africa, they quickly begin to enjoy the benefit of a working society.”

He continued, “another reason for enmity could be the way foreign men treat South African women. Women, who have, at any time, enjoyed the care and respect that foreign nationals give them, scarcely would admire their own type of men.”

Ndukwe said, “South Africans think other Africans are taking their jobs and this creates some form of anger against foreigners in the country. Several researches have identified this as one of the major causes of xenophobia in the country. On the other hand, the role of our brothers in drug dealing and prostitution racketeering means that Nigerians are easy targets of such xenophobic attacks.”

South African citizens blame foreign nationals for all their socioeconomic ills and hardships, including poverty, unemployment, poor service delivery, lack of business space and opportunities, crime, prostitution, drug and alcohol abuse.This perception is stronger in poor townships and settlements where there is fierce competition with equally poor African immigrants for scarce resources and opportunities.

According to Ezeanya, political scapegoating has fueled the prevailing anti-immigrant sentiment. He said, “political leaders and government officials often blame foreign nationals for their failures to deliver on electoral promise and satisfy the citizen’s expectations.”

Tsele, who is resident in Cape Town, said that South Africa was not ready for the influx of other nationals, not only Nigerians, but others, including the Pakistani, with exception of whites. “The reason is, a large percentage of our population is currently unemployed and most are relying on government subsidies for a living, which also weighs heavily on tax payers.”

She added, “we have high taxes and this has made the cost of living very high, on the other hand, the foreigners, who 90 per cent of the time, are not tax compliant, also benefit from government facilities (free education and free health care).”Joel Mpiliswana, a resident of Rosetteneville, said, “foreigners are taking our jobs while as South Africans, we accommodate them, they turn around to be abusive, arrogant and self-centred.”He continued, “I don’t have anything against some of these foreign nationals here, but these Kwerekwere (a derogatory name for Nigerians based in South Africa, who are into all sorts of evils.”

Mpiliswana said, “most of the drugs, prostitution and violent crimes are committed by Nigerians who walk around like they own the place.“These foreign nationals have Indian and white police on their pay roll and most cops come to collect their share at night using state cars. The foreigners will not hesitate to kill, rape, maim South Africans all because of money.”

Ezeanya, who is in the South African Culture and Creative Industries (CCI), said, “foreigners are not taking anyone’s job. Locals just do not want to work; they are less qualified and not so productive. The country has major skills shortage and foreigners, as well as their ladies, are filling those higher posts.”He continued, “the locals are lazy and rude and want everything handed to them. I have made more money by engaging in credit scheme. Once these people receive their salary on the 23rd of the month, they go on a drinking spree. By 30th, they are broke. They drink too much and live a carefree life.”

Ezeanya, who had moved to South Africa in 1996, in search of greener pastures, said, “since 2008, thousands of people have been harassed, attacked or killed because of their status as foreign nationals. But the truth is, crime does not know race, colour or ethnic group. Every nationality in South Africa is involved, it is not about Nigerians alone.”

Ndukwe lamented the rate at which Nigerians go after one another. “What fellow Nigerians do to themselves is unsavoury; drug business has resulted in the killing of Nigerians by Nigerians,” he said.

Nigerians and criminal activities
THE criminal activities of some Nigerians have affected others genuinely earning their living in the Rainbow Nation.“We are generally stereotyped as drug dealers and this is caused by the attitude of our brothers in this country. The brazen impunity of Nigerians on the streets of South Africa is sickening,” he lamented. “So many of us are into legitimate business here, but the stereotype has refused to go away.”

This is an opinion also corroborated by Lolu Agbede, a Nigerian student living in Durban. Agbede said life in South Africa has an interesting experience, though not without its challenges.The PhD. candidate, however, observed that South Africa generally, has a high crime rate. “Durban, where I stay, is not any different. One has to be extra-cautious at all times and avoid moving around late in the night,” she said.

To Agbede, living in South Africa as a Nigerian, sometimes, comes with negative stereotypes.The lady argued that though Nigerians have been accused of drugpeddling as well as running of brothels, “I don’t know of any, in particular.” She said, “Nigerians all over carry a degree of stigma, because some people from our country are involved in crime. So, people, at times, discriminate against us due to this generalisation.”

Agbede added there’s absolutely nothing good about killings, whether of Nigerians or any group of persons.”Killing of anyone is a barbaric, brutal and cruel attitude that demands necessary attention. However, I honestly don’t know anything about the killing of Nigerians by Nigerians. I am in the academic environment and as such, I have limited experience about what happens outside. But with the Nigerians I know in the academics as well, I would say there is nothing of such.” Ajenifuja said, “with the vocal nature of our people, it appears that their crimes, and they are many, are known more widely.”

In recent weeks, angry youngmen have ‘necklaced’ or killed Nigerians, because as Ezeanya said, South Africans are always looking for opportunity to attack Nigerians. One good case was when some taxi drivers in Rustenburg alleged that a Nigerian abducted and raped a 16-year-old South African girl. These irate drivers killed the ‘suspected’ Nigerian. Four others were beaten and left in a critical condition in the hospital. It did not stop there, as some shops belonging to Nigerians were torched.

Investigations later by the Nigerian Union in South Africa (NUSA) showed that no Nigerians abducted or raped any South African girl. These killings came without any meaningful intervention to bring the perpetrators to book.

‘No, Nigerians are the problem, they have destroyed our youths’
TSELE, who professed an initial affection for Nigerians, even trying to learn some Nigerian languages and cooking some of its local delicacies, said, “it would take time for South Africans to change their impression of Nigerians. Honestly speaking, our government is not ready for what is happening. It’s a concrete jungle out there. The worst that is happening with the Nigerians is the so-called pastors. They extort money from desperate people. A lot needs to be done.”

She said nine of every 10 Nigerians in Cape Town, is a drug pusher. “Actually, eight of 10, then one is into financial crime, the rest are pastors and businessmen, even the ones that are working, most of them, their side hustle is drug.”Tsele, who was based in Randung before she moved to Cape Town, where she first encountered The Guardian, said, “I’m sure there is a minority that is genuine, but honestly, I have not met anyone.”

She continued, “behind every shop there is a drug business. The sad part is our youths (South Africans) are completely destroyed. They are into a drug called nyaope (a cocktail of dagga (marijuana), heroin, anti-retro viral drugs, rat poison and acid, Nyaope, also known as whoonga, is a street drug that is highly addictive and destructive. It is a fine white powder that is smoked, no thanks to Nigerians, who sell them the stuff. The Mandrax ecstasy and cocaine are for working class. Painfully, you’ll find educated people wasting their hard-earned money on drugs. There is a high rate of broken homes and suicide rate, because of drug addiction. It’s really very sad.”

She doesn’t believe the hatred against Nigerian men is because South African girls prefer them.Angrily, Tsele said, “all in the name of money, our fellow African brothers have contributed largely into the killing of a nation. Nigerians, because of their occultic tendencies and practices, are doing anything for money here.”

According to Tsele, “many of the so-called drug boys impregnate our school girls and don’t take responsibility for their offspring. Aside from that, in places such as, Cape Town and townships like Samora and Langa, the Nigerian drug boys have unprotected sex with small girls, who, in exchange for sex, are paid between 100 and 400 Rands. You will find most of these girls are without parents (or from single parent families who are desperate for money). They abuse these kids, and the community, including myself, therefore, develops hatred for them, because it has become a norm with Nigerian folks.

“How would you feel if a man used and dumped your sister? Most Nigerians treat South African women with less respect than their fellow countrywomen. There are some things an average Nigerian man would do to a South African girl that he would not do to Nigerian girls.”She added, “truth be told, the majority of Nigerians here, their mission is clear: to make as money as they can and go back home build mansions and buy expensive cars, so, for that, they would do anything.”Said Dlamini Mlangeni, a resident of Mpumalanga, “if the laws were strict on these issues we would not be in this situation.”He accused Nigerians of committing crimes from clubs, shops and streets, and even open churches, where they sell drugs in the name of God.

How Nigerian Consulate has pitted Nigerians against themselves
SPEAKING with The Guardian, Austine Okeke, an attorney, who specialises in South African and Nigerian laws, traced the history of killings in the Rainbow Nation in the early parts of 1997. According to Okeke, who once served as the chairman of the Association of Nigerians in South Africa, “a vibrant Nigerian, popularly known as Ncha South, was brutally murdered in front of his liquor store located in Johannesburg. This was few months after Lawrence Ifoh, an engineer, was allegedly shot point blank by a police officer known as Eke Simon, at the Statesman apartment in Berea, Johannesburg.”

He said, “this was one of the early strikes by an in-house enemy who knew so much about the late Ifoh’s business deals. It then became a trend for some unscrupulous Nigerians to either kidnap their fellow countrymen for ransom or send their police friends to rob fellow Nigerians of their goods and money.”

Okeke added, “we came out in defence of our people. And the South African law enforcement agencies joined forces with us.“At some point, we had four dead Nigerians in the state mortuary waiting to be sent back home to their bereaved families, so that they may find closure.”He revealed, “most Nigerians couldn’t open a banking account, because of the nature of the asylum permit issued to them by the South African authorities. As a result, many of them kept their money in their flats or hid them in their so-called storerooms. They then became easy targets for ruthless robbers.”

The Nigerian community literally became automated teller machine (ATM) where the police came to draw money anytime they liked and as much as they wanted.The kidnappers got the hint that Ncha South was about to purchase the Parklane Hotel; a lovely hotel and apartment building in the heart of Johannesburg, housing one of the well-known night clubs in the city at the time called ‘the pub with no name’ and they went after him. The Nigerian community in South Africa did not receive the news of his death well.

Here was a young businessman whose life was cut short prematurely because of greed. “We had to send him to Nigeria for his bereaved family to bury him,” he said.His wealth was pillaged and dissipated by the boys in his employ and by his supposedly close friends and business associates. They practically robbed a dead man of his acquired assets.

The Nigerian community had had enough of the terror and the siege by fellow Nigerians acting in concert with their partners in crime.“We applied our minds and sought counsel from the South African law enforcement agencies. We literally dragged the reluctant Nigerian Consulate into the fray. It was typical of our government to ignore its own people whose primary business it is to protect, no matter where they reside.

“It was advisable at the time to drag in the Nigerian Consulate General, albeit the fact that I had become the de facto ambassador of Nigeria in South Africa at the time. This was during the late General Sani Abacha’s regime. The government faced a lot of sanctions. Consequently, the Nigerian missions all over the globe couldn’t function, as they normally should have.

“International law allows a host government and other international organisations to recognise the leader of a community as a de facto ambassador in that kind of situation, the one Nigerian missions found themselves.“And so, I led a protest march to the United Nation’s office in Johannesburg to deliver a memorandum of grievance against the incessant murder of Nigerians in South Africa. I personally visited the Red Cross office in Johannesburg with the same complaints, demanding intervention and assistance.”

Okeke said, “the Red Cross, noticing how energetic I was, and my willingness to serve humanity, instead of pampering, laden me with the responsibility of taking care of other English speaking West African countries like, Liberia and Ghana. “I took it with pleasure, went out to the streets of Johannesburg, gathered as many as I could, Liberian and Ghanaian citizens, and I duly discharged my humanitarian duties free of charge. Outside of the Red Cross duties, we co-opted some of the willing Liberian and Ghanaian citizens into the Nigerian community meetings as one and same people.”

He said, “we subsequently declared ‘boys oye’. We tagged it “environmental sanitation.” And the South African law enforcement agencies came to the party.”The city of Johannesburg came to a standstill for a week, as Nigerians went after one another. The media was abuzz and inundated with news of the cleanup in the Johannesburg CBD. That was when Hillbrow and Berea, in Johannesburg, were renamed ‘little Lagos’.

Simunye, Aro, Albert, Alaiwo and Ochi were scapegoats, as they resisted the exercise. With the exception of Alaiwo, the others were later apprehended and sent to Sun City without bail or trial. They came out after about 18 months of awaiting trial. It was all part of the grand scheme to sanitise the Nigerian community.

According to him, “Alaiwo escaped a kidnap attempt. Felix Baba, Alloy One Naija, Ike Kwa Kwa and the late Alex from Oba town in Anambra State, ‘our wounded soldiers’ were all arrested and eventually sent to the notorious Sun City prison for seven days.”

On the day of their appearance at the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court, the leadership of the Nigerian community attended, alongside their friends. In order to ensure the release of their ‘wounded soldiers’, Okeke had to sign an undertaking that no harm would befall Alaiwo within the next six months.

“Alaiwo fell before the six months window period. I was subsequently summoned by the police to explain what had happened to him. I presented myself, turned the table against the police, and challenged them to go do their investigations,” he said. “It was their job to go out there, investigate and afterwards tell us what had happened to our fellow Nigerian, not the other way round.”

Relative calm seemed to have returned after a few years of peace in December 2017. However, 14 Nigerians living in Rustenburg, South Africa, were arrested for public violence. Investigation revealed that they actually went on a protest against the killing of fellow Nigerians during a xenophobic attack by some disgruntled South Africans. Two of them were subsequently released, while the 12 have remained in detention for over six months for an offence whose penalty is a fine of less than $20.

According to Okeke, both the Nigerian Consulate and Nigerian Union in South Africa were working together to ensure the release of the remaining 12, who are currently in a holding cell in Rustenburg, until recently when things took a new turn. “The Nigerian Consulate and the Nigerian Union in South Africa had been collaborating in their efforts to secure the release of the Rustenburg 12. Somehow, something went wrong because, as it now appears, their efforts weren’t concerted in the first place. The South African citizens threatened to lynch them should they be released. No consideration whatsoever for their wives and children; none whatsoever for their constitutional rights,” he lamented.

He continued: “The South African government has not even considered, for the interest of safety and security, to have them transferred from the city of Rustenburg to a different city for a court hearing and to have them released there. It is not rocket science,” he said.According to Okeke, things took a different turn after the visit of Senior Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora & Foreign Affairs (SSAFD), Abike Dabiri –Erewa, to South Africa in April, and her subsequent report on the matter. He alleged that Dabiri had reported that the Rustenburg 12 are criminals and drug dealers; reason they are still being detained for over six months.

“This negative reporting didn’t go down well with the officials of the Nigerian Union; it was viewed as sabotage. As disheartening as it is, the same officials of the Nigerian Union are the ones that always feed Dabiri-Erewa with reports on Diaspora affairs in South Africa; she is sitting in Abuja, and had relied on reports from people in South Africa; the same report Dabiri-Erewa would submit to the Nigerian government for filing,” he said.

Worried about the development, the President of Nigerian Union in South Africa Mr. Adetola Adebajo went on Channels TV on April 23 and spoke about the Nigerian Consulate General in Johannesburg South Africa and the High Commission in Pretoria South Africa. He accused the mission of ineptitude and only purport to be actively working for the interest of Nigerians if there were financial benefits emanating therefrom.

In response, the Nigerian Consulate issue a statement to condemn the utterances of Adetola and gave the Nigerian Union an ultimatum to disassociate itself from the comments of its president, tender a written apology and go back to Channels TV to retract and recant the comments of its President, failing which, there would be consequences.

“The Nigerian Union is a non-governmental organisation registered in terms of the laws of South Africa, what in the first place is it doing in ‘bed’ with the Nigerian Consulate? Again, what right does the Nigerian Consulate have when it issued out an ultimatum to the Nigerian Union? It could simply have gone to the same Channels TV to contradict the assertions made by the president of the Nigerian Union South Africa,” Okeke stated.

When it became obvious that the Nigerian Union was not ready to comply or recant the position of its President on Channels TV programme, the Nigerian Consulate allegedly connived with other Nigerian citizens and some disgruntled members of the Nigerian Union to form a rival Nigerian association called Nigeria Citizens Association South Africa (NICASA)

“NICASA, supposedly a non governmental organisation, was hurriedly set up and elections held at the Nigerian Consulate, blessed few days later by the Nigerian Ambassador. Divide and rule system practised in Nigeria has now been exported to South Africa. This was without proper representation of the Federal Character principles of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Meanwhile the interest of the Rustenburg 12 has been swept under the carpet until a winner emerges out of this melodrama. However, most have now been released whilst some still battle to have their immigration permits renewed, as the permits expired during the period they were detained,” Okeke said.

A statement issued by the National Public Relations Officer of NICASA, Sunny-Wenike Douglas, informed the public of a successful inauguration of an interim executive for the association. The ceremony, which was held on July 27, 2018, at the Nigerian High Commission Conference Hall situated at No 971 Francis Baard Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa, was supervised by the then Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Ahmed Musa Ibeto, in conjunction with His Excellency, the Consul-General of the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa, Godwin Adama.

Four of the NICASA provincial chairmen of Kwazulu Natal, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga present were also inaugurated along side the executives, BOT, royal father and patrons while the other provincial chairmen will be inaugurated in due course. Highlight of the event was the inaugural acceptance speech by the President of NICASA, Ben Okoli, who expressed his confidence in the diplomatic missions for their ability to carry out their respective delegated duties without fear or favour.

The president also used the opportunity to call on the government representatives to continue to collaborate with their counterparts and South African government agencies to see to the end of incessant intimidation, harassment, killings, unlawful detention, immigration discrimination and so many other problems being faced by Nigerians almost on a daily basis in South Africa. He assured that there would be a general assembly of Nigerians before the end of the year and all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion and cultural beliefs would be invited so as to collectively shape the future and prepare for a transition.

“It was indeed an epoch-making event as it was the first time in the history of Nigerian community associations or gathering that both representatives of our diplomatic missions and other elite cut across all tribes, ethnic groups, religious beliefs and cultures have come together to inaugurate an all-inclusive body to cater for the welfare of the generality of people of Nigeria,” Douglas stated.Reacting to the news of the inauguration of NICASA, Jeff Azubuike, a Nigerian attorney in South Africa, warned the Nigerian Mission to be very circumspect in dealing with the present executive of the new association, especially granting them any form of credence, adding that such a step may turn to haunt them in not too distant time.

“I have tried to refrain from making this a public issue, however, the more I tried to suppress it, the more I’m moved more than eloquence. A few weeks ago, a certain individual approached me to join and build a new Nigerian umbrella association due to the breakdown in relationship between our missions here in the Republic and Nigeria Union South Africa (NUSA). After some persuasions, I agreed to work with the new association, but under the agreement that things must be done the right ways,” Azubike said in a public statement.

He alleged that, in one of their first sittings, he was adopted as the legal adviser, though he made it clear he wasn’t interested in holding an office.“When they canvassed an election into interim offices, I kicked against it due to the lopsidedness of their composition; little did I know that there was a grand design to hijack the new association. When the registration documents were presented, I noticed that it was registered with the names of Anayo Igwilo, his wife and their underage child. I queried the rationale behind such an anomaly in registering an umbrella association comprising all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria by members of the same family.

“A few reasonable members equally showed their disapproval of such an incongruous plot. However, there was much to it than meets the ordinary eyes.“Things started unfolding faster than anyone could comprehend. There were hurried visits to the missions, makeshift election, demand for letter of acceptance and accreditation from the missions et al. It was during this period that Mazi Jonas Udeji Onowu Nd’igbo Na South Africa and Hon Patterson were unceremoniously removed from NICASA forum in a rather insulting manner just because they expressed their views on a matter of national discourse,” he stated.

“Next was their adoption of Anayo Igwilo as the NICASA royal father without due consultation nor due process; flowing from the foregoing, I requested a BOT meeting to address these budding issues and disaffection of the majority of the members. My call was ignored and instead, they hatched a heinous ploy to organise an inauguration of the interim officers.

“When I got a hint of the above, I gave the leadership an ultimatum to call a BOT meeting within three days or I’ll take further action. In their utter desperation, Ben Okoli blocked me from the WhatsApp group due to my dissent to their kangaroo style of leadership. At this point, it became quite clear that there was a very sinister plan in the formation of NICASA,” he alleged.

But Amnesty International believes South Africa authorities have failed to root out hatred against refugees and migrants. Speaking on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the start of xenophobic violence that cost 11 lives in South Africa, Amnesty International says refugees and migrants are still facing daily discrimination and living in constant fear of physical attacks.

The international human rights watchdog said ongoing xenophobia in South Africa is compounded by the failed criminal justice system, with many cases remaining unresolved, which allow perpetrators to attack refugees and migrants with impunity. The authorities have also failed to bring those responsible for the 2008 attacks to justice, emboldening future attackers.

In May 2008, a Mozambican national, Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, was beaten, stabbed and set alight in a brutal killing, which set off a chain of violent attacks against migrants and refugees in South Africa. The xenophobic attacks left 62 people dead and caused thousands to flee their homes.

Meanwhile, the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, in July 2018, during a visit to Nigeria, rejected the widespread view among Nigerians that South Africans are killing their citizens on home soil. Ramaphosa met with his Nigeria counterpart Muhammadu Buhari where the purported targeted killing of Nigerians in South Africa was high on the agenda.

Speaking to the media after the event at the State House in Abuja, Ramaphosa rejected the narrative that Nigerians are being targeted in South Africa, saying that it’s purely a matter of criminality.“I want to state here and now that South Africans do not have any form of negative disposition or hatred towards Nigerians and in the main, Nigerians and South Africans and a number of our places in our country, live side-by-side.”
With the leadership tussle between NUSA and the newly formed NICASA still raging, the welfare of Nigerians has been relegated to the background. But for how long?