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Nigeria, U.S. decry violence against foreigners in S’ Africa

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A local taxi driver pelts with stones a man on the ground during a confrontation with foreign nationals in the Johannesburg Central Business District on April 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI

A local taxi driver pelts with stones a man on the ground during a confrontation with foreign nationals in the Johannesburg Central Business District on April 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI

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THE United States has joined the South African government and other civil society leaders in condemning the violence against foreigners taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of the former apartheid enclave that has led to the killing of some migrants.

They stated their concern at the loss of innocent lives, destruction of property, and impact on families and communities, and urge those involved to refrain from all forms of violence, exercise restraint, and rely on peaceful dialogue to resolve any differences.

Likewise, the House of Representatives in Nigeria has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to recall the country’s High Commissioner from South Africa as a result of the recent xenophobic attacks targeted at Nigerians and other African nationals.

The parliament at its plenary session yesterday said the action was necessary to pave way for urgent diplomatic consultations with the government of South Africa. The House also called the country’s President, Jacob Zuma to immediately commence an investigation into the matter with a view to adequately addressing the situation.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Aminu Wali, has assured that the Federal Government is prepared to bring Nigerians back home if they are found to be under threat from South Africans in the recent attacks. But he confirmed that so far no Nigerian citizen has been affected.

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Patrick H. Gaspard said: “The U.S. government has long recognised the challenges posed by an influx of migrants and refugees throughout southern Africa and provides various forms of assistance in South Africa,’’ noting ‘‘that as an immigrant to my own country, my heart goes out to those who have been attacked for being different.”

Gaspard noted that the United States government is ready to help, stressing that it is the largest single donor to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), directly funding approximately 40% of these organisations’ budgets in the Africa region.

Also in the House of Representatives resolution over a motion of urgent public importance moved by Chairman of the Committee on Nigerians in the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on the floor yesterday, the House said Nigeria should apply diplomatic reciprocity if South Africa continues to frustrate Nigerian businesses in the country by doing same to her interests in Nigeria.

As members took turns to condemn the recent attacks, which, according to them was not the first specifically targeted at Nigerians, the House called on the President of the African Union (AU), Mrs. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who incidentally is a South African, to decisively intervene, as it described the incident as “cruelty being meted out to fellow black migrants.”

Leading debate on the motion, Dabiri-Erewa recalled that there have been constant, unwarranted xenophobic attacks against African migrants in South Africa, whereby Africans in South Africa are being slaughtered like animals, adding that the recent attacks, which has left many dead, businesses and shops vandalised, many beaten up mercilessly, was incited by a statement allegedly made by South African Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, who told African migrants to go home as they are no longer welcome in South Africa.

President Jacob Zuma, in his remark to the South African Parliament said: “Let us work together to provide support to all foreign nationals who have been affected by this violence.”

“Son of President Zuma, Edward, allegedly echoed the same statement. This ignited a strong debate, and worse still, immediate backlash of violent reactions among the Zulus in Kwazulu, who unleashed terror on foreign immigrants including Nigerians in Jo-bourg, Durban and Pretoria. They steal, break into their homes, businesses, take their properties, killing them. At least five have been killed in Durban, hundreds stranded and unable to return home,” the lawmaker stated.

Speaking to State House correspondents, Wali said: “With the discussions I have been having with Nigeria’s Head of Mission in Pretoria, no Nigeria has so far been affected. ‎They informed me that they have called the Nigerian community and told them to close their shops, stay home and keep out of trouble and obey the laws of South Africa.”

He added: “We are not being reactionary, because this is happening to all foreigners, not Nigerians alone. We are monitoring the situation and will now take action according to how the situation develops, but you can be rest assured that government will not shirk in its responsibilities.”

Meanwhile, President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa (NUSA), Ikechukwu Anyene, has urged the Federal Government to help halt the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Anyene, who spoke on phone from Pretoria, South Africa, said that the latest spate of xenophobic attacks began three weeks ago.

Already, unconfirmed reports indicate that no fewer than 10 Nigerians may have been killed since angry South Africans launched attacks on African migrants in Johannesburg on Friday.

There are more than 800,000 Nigerians living in South Africa.

Anyene said Nigerians resident in some South African cities had gone into hiding to avoid being attacked.

“The Nigerian government should urgently intervene and save our people from the attacks. They should prevail on the South African government to stop such attacks against Nigerians. It appears nothing is being done to stop the attacks and Nigerians are worried about the situation,’’ he said.

Anyene said during the attacks in Johannesburg last week, shops owned by Nigerians were looted and their owners seriously injured by the attackers.

He said the Nigerian Union in South Africa had been in touch with local chapters in some provinces and had urged them to take precautionary measures to save themselves.

Anyene said that since Nigeria and South Africa established diplomatic relations, there had not been a single incident of xenophobic attack against South Africans living in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian government protects the lives and property of South Africans living in Nigeria. We do not understand why from time to time, South Africans attack Nigerians in their country. The Federal Government should take the issue of xenophobic attacks in South Africa very seriously because Nigerians do not carry out xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans,’’ he said.

Nigerians living in Durban, he said, had planned a protest march against the xenophobic attacks.

He, however, said they were denied permit by the South African police.


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34 Comments
  • kugan pillay

    Well Zuma,,,open the borders wider and cause more mayhem….The ANC should have waited, seen to its own peoples needs first then opened the borders for others; yes the other countries assisted the ANC in those dark years and yes you do owe them but you should have waited….what’s happening now is not helping that relationship…

    • Isaia

      I agree with you Kugan, no great economy country worth it’s salt can have an open door policy like South Africa is. If the United States was like this country, their population would be over 2 billion by now because all South Americans want to emigrate to the US just like all of Africa want to come to SA

      • kugan pillay

        It sounds even scarier the way you say it Isaia…lets hope this is sorted out soon too many lives lost and many affected..we all human beings when it comes to the long and short of it!

      • Ibrahim

        Isaia if you review the discussions in this forum with a friend he may help top let you know how wrong you are …. jumping from one hatred line to another, one confusing to another. you represent the bad side of souhht Afriv

  • Isaia

    If south Africans are as xenophobic as it is being claimed by many Nigerians, many of them would not be married to South African women, they would not be working in government hospitals as medical professionals, in institutions of learning as professors. Your cement magnate billionaire Aliko Dangote would not be running cement mines in this country. On the other hand, thanks to the Nigerians the youth in our cities and townships are slaves to highly addictive drugs, young women in prostitution, busninessmen dooped in 419 scams and the culture of bribery and corruption, all of which were not a norm in this country before their arrival after 1994. And you wonder why South Africans are angry?
    Do we hate Nigerians? No, they are our brothers-in-law, they do our women’s hair, we love their Nollywood movies, they take care of our patients in hospitals and private practices, etc

    • kugan pillay

      I dont thnk its a case of All south Africans hate the foreigners,,,its just a few that are fueling this….its politics..
      most Black South Africans i spoke to say they like the foreigners and have no problem with them..

      • Ibrahim

        exactly . . . its just a few that are fuelling this…. so you wonder when 10,000 boko Haram are killing Christians as well as Muslims and you blame 80 million Muslims in Nigeria or may be maximum 100,000 terrorists action and you blame 1.6 billion Muslims now in the world or Islam a religion practices by millions for 1,400 years. I remember as a school boy we contributed our N1, N2 to liberate South Africa now see the brutality whcih we cannot say is perpetrated by Christians rather it is by those who do not understand Christianity … understanding, understanding, understanding so we have a better world

        • kugan pillay

          I agree Ibrahim,,,i also beleive in the xase of Israel and Palestine, i am sure most of them on both sides would prefer to live in harmony,,,its the politicians on both sides that wont allow it…
          Its the same to anywhere in the world….it just amazes me how the minority has all the power..

          • Ibrahim

            The minority hold the wealth whereever you look. the minority deny the majority the opportunity to understand one anotrher, the minority white ruled the black southies with great bruitality and the majority whole world wide acted. souht africans should re-think their actions.

      • Aloysius

        Then in that case, government of south Africa should reinforce a security defense against those xenophobia fighters.

    • Brown

      What do you call the current spate of violence on fellow Africans?

      • Isaia

        I am not singing any song nor huffing or puffing ..I’m just giving u the hard facts. SA is not a country of heartless barbarians as u allerge, just much as ur Nigeria is not a country of mindless religious butchers and kidnappers of school girls…in fact I’m inviting u to visit Mzansi and experience the warmth of its people… Why do u think some 800 000 plus Nigerians have made it their second home of choice?

        • Isaia

          Sorry Brown, not meant for u

    • Abu Michael Ekenimoh

      isaiah or whatever your name is…its natural to defend ur country..but trust me you have got it all wrong..yes…you are not a true citizwn of SA..u ar bias in nature..cunning n crafty….SA guys..last time u stop nigerians from entering ur country..we were silent..now u wilk kill people..there is nothing that you will say that will justify d killings..keep ur assumed intelligent reasons to youraelf…u pple ar xenophobic..second largest economy my foot…

      • Isaia

        Yes, second biggest economy on the continent after ur government rebased the country’s GDP and overtaking SA. Ask uncle Google if u don’t believe me.
        And yes my name is Isaia, without an H

        • Abu Michael Ekenimoh

          la la la la la la..blah blah blah blah blah..u puff n huff like the wolf in the threevpiglet story…SA..u sing song of SA….i would have danced to it..it just that it lacks rhythm..lol…u would tell someone what south africans are made of..lol..i know what they are made of..hate syndrome..killing without impunity…guy u cant justify that..aight…NIgerians wouldbhave looked for a better option like peaceful dialogue..or three months notice to leave..it doeant matter what ur economy os like..i dont care..ur heart..i mean all SA is not what the song pple have been singing of u…hmnnnn….with such heart even your parents arnt save..u want me to ask google f ur economy…google my foot

          • Isaia

            I am not singing any song nor huffing or puffing..I’m just giving u the hard facts. SA is not a country of heartless barbarians as u allerge, just much as ur Nigeria is not a country of mindless religious butchers and kidnappers of young schoolgirls… In fact I’m inviting u to visit Mzansi and experience the warmth of its people…why do u think some 800 000 plus Nigerians have made it their second home of choice

          • Abu Michael Ekenimoh

            ISAIA IS XENOPHOBIC…i think u want us to see south Africa as a nation going through its trying time..i av never given boko haram a thumb up..as it seems ur heart is overwhelmed with joy to know that fellow blacks are being killed…u no get point guy…ur south AFRICA JUST GOT IT BAD THIS TIME…n am happy to hear that over 800000 nigeria likes one…whats d name again..thank GOD u didnt say all NIgerians..trust me i no even wan entwr ur country..rifht now am wondering if u reside in naija or SA…LOL…U BE NAIJA BOY GUYYYY..u av been commenting from naija here….

          • Isaia

            Ha hahaaa…I no be Naija my brother, I they Southie through and through. I reside in Pretoria , the capital. Re rata maAfrika, ga rena bothata le bona…ke bo kgaitsade ba rona..it means we have no problem with our African brothers and sisters, in my native Tswana language which is the official language in Botswana and South Africa

  • Ify Onabu

    South Africans citizens who engage in xenophobic attacks should be ashamed of themselves. It is a shame that a country whose liberation came about by collective world effort, and pressure on the apartheid regime, should permit xenophobia in their midst.

  • Adesiyan Aderemi Olanrewaju

    THIS IS VERY BAD AND IF NIGERIANS STARTED THIER OWN IT WONT BE EASY FOR THEM…..

    • Isaia

      My brother if your fellow Nigerians in SA “start their own “, they will know for the first time in 20 years what Southies are made of..we have been tolerating their shenanigans for years but this time it’s for real…

      • Brown

        You are made of nothing but lazy bones and mindless violence.

        • Isaia

          “TWO persons were yesterday feared killed and several property worth millions of naira destroyed as Bororo-Fulani traders clashed with Yoruba natives of Oro-Ago in Ifelodun Local Council of Kwara State” Over 10000 killed by your Boko Haram. South Africa does not hold monopoly on violence and if Nigerians were as hardworking as u imply, there would be no poor people in Nigeria

        • Isaia

          If we are made of nothing but lazy bones, then why is SA the second biggest economy in Africa?

          • Brown

            Who exactly is driving your economy the lazybones or the Afrikaans and foreigners in your midst. How many percentage of forieghners n your country are employed, how many are self employed and how many are employers.

  • Adolf

    Knowing what we know today, I believe Black South African would have been better off under the apartheid regime. After Mandela and Mbeki, South Africa has never been useful to other Africans, nor to themselves. Laziness is really a bad disease; It is when people are lazy and stupid that they complain that foreigners have come, and taken over their country, state or city. Intelligent people go about their business without minding who the next-door neighbor is. The biggest failure is the axe headed polygamist occupying the office of the president.

    • Isaia

      In the 1970s, Ghana was facing a lot of economic hardship, just about the same time Nigeria had an oil boom, Nigeria’s economy was flourishing. Citizens of some West African countries (mostly Ghanaians) flocked into Nigeria in search of pastures green. In the early 1980s the oil boom somewhat subsided and there was also economic downturn in Nigeria due to low oil prices, jobs were no longer readily available even for Nigerians. The Federal Government decided that the Ghanaians and other African migrants had overstayed their welcome. The Nigerian government enacted an expulsion order in 1983, about 700,000 Ghanaians were returned to their country. The Ghanaians during the exodus used a peculiar type of bag to move their belongings; the bags were popularly termed by Nigerians as ‘Ghana must go’ bags. Was this not xenophobia?

      • Brown

        No it was not. The citizens did not rise up in violense against foreigners as is the case in SA. No Ghanaian died because of it. It was an orderly process rather than a barbaric show of hate. Try all you can, it is impossible to justify what is basically a crime against humanity peperpetrated by people who should know better given your history. By the way only illegal migrants were asked to go.

        • Isaia

          I agree with u that what my countrymen are doing is inhumane and barbaric and there are also criminals taking advantage of genuine grievances by communities and I am in no way justifying the violence but many unemployed people having been complaining to the useless ANC government that employers who are mainly white are sacking indigenous workers in order to hire cheap labourers from neighboring countries many whom are undocumented and illegal in the country mainly from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi who are willing to accept half the pay or even less. This phenomenon started soon after liberation in this country. These days you can hardly find south Africans working in restaurants, filling stations, farms, construction, private security, etc because these jobs are filled by foreigners. All these in a country with a youth unemployment of 50%, so people have had enough of this and are taking it no more. At least your government had the foresight and decided to expel foreign workers before the indigenous started to fight them for scarce resources and jobs, unlike our government here who have been basking in the glory of “rainbow nation” and membership of BRICS to pay attention to the plight of poor and unemployed people. I myself put all blame for the current situation on the corrupt and incompetent government of Jacob Zuma and his ANC party

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  • Michael Fletcher Jockumsen

    I respectfully request, the immediate evacuation of, all Nigerians in, South Africa. The situation has, not been contained; and in fact, is spreading! Enough talk has, been done and, it is time for action. I would also request that, in the future, Nigerian and South African, and other African governments, sit down to honestly, address, this problem. United, we stand and, divided, we ALL fall.

    • Isaia

      I fully agree with u my brother

  • Sal Yarima

    South Africa is in trouble. They should not have signed a deal with China to dump the use of American Dollars. This is just a warning. The power sector in South Africa is being targeted. There would soon be an insurgency and assassinations. Soon South Africa would be reduced to a pile of poor people asking for IMF help!