Group asks S’African govt to stop xenophobic attacks
AN international civil rights group, Neo-Black Movement of Africa (NBM), has condemned the recent xenophobic attacks on fellow African migrants in some parts of South Africa and urged its government to bring to book the perpetrators.
The non-partisan, non-religious and pan-African organisation, which has as motto, ‘Justice and Equality for All’, said the principles of democracy, equality and social justice should be upheld in the former apartheid enclave to safeguard the lives of all. The group made the call during a peaceful protest march it held on May Day.
The march started from 1004 Flats’ Housing Complex to the South African Embassy, both in Victoria Island, Lagos. The march was designed to create awareness about acts of human rights violation or ill-treatment, both locally and globally, meted to fellow Africans.
Members of the movement were dressed in white shirts and black trousers and sang peaceful protest songs while also displaying placards with various inscriptions: “We are Africans; Stop the killing,” “Say No to Xenophobia” and “Say No to Apartheid”, among others.
They also made several demands such as protection for both the lives and property of foreigners and Africans living in South Africa and non-violation of human rights, provision of amenities for displaced persons, adequate compensation for victims of xenophobia and allowing the law to deal with offenders, among others.
National President of Neo-Black Movement of Africa, Mr. Oristebemigho Eyeoyibo, later told journalists: “It is sad and embarrassing news the killing of foreigners who are fellow Africans living in South Africa for the flimsy reasons being given.
I hold in contempt the looting and subsequent attacks suffered by our brothers and sisters in South Africa, who, not too long ago, we helped to rescue from the stranglehold of white minority apartheid rule.”
Eyeoyibo recalled the past years when Nigeria made various selfless contributions to free South Africa from apartheid, stressing: “It’s saddening and disheartening today that instead of appreciating us, they now attack and kill Nigerians. This does not reflect the love we showed or have for South Africans.”
Eyeoyibo urged the South African government to immediately halt the attacks, put their acts together, train her citizens, provide job opportunities and welfare packages and empower them to curtail their inferiority complex before their fellow Africans.
He added: “We, therefore, reject xenophobia or any form of insecurity and mal-treatment henceforth. We also want the world to know that it is not only by compensating the affected or displaced persons but finding the root cause of the problem to proffer lasting solutions so as to avoid future occurrence.
“In over 50 countries world-wide, such demonstrations by our members had been taking place simultaneously, indicating that there should be an end to the violence, killings and destruction.”
A member of the group, Mr. Destiny Haruna Muhammed, told The Guardian that NBM was a law-abiding, hardworking and enterprising group with the mission to foster justice, peace and love among African people.
He noted that the movement would strive to eradicate all forms of discrimination, oppression, intimidation, corruption, neo-colonial tendencies and other vices in society to create world peace. In a similar vein, another member of the group, Mr. Godlove Iserhien, lamented the dastardly xenophobic acts in South Africa, and advised that such negative tendency should be eradicated.
He maintained that the word “xenophobia” and hatred for fellow Africans were alien to Africans, adding that the continent was known for being hospitable, accommodating and peace-loving.