DEPUTY Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has been named leader of the Senate’s seven-man delegation that would engage the South Africa parliament over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in that country. Other members of the delegation are Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North), Chief Whip Olusola Adeyeye (APC Osun Central), Senators Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi (APC Kwara North), Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central), Magnus Abe (PDP Rivers South East) and Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra North). Senate President Bukola Saraki made the announcement at yesterday’s plenary following last Tuesday’s resolution by the upper legislative chamber to engage the South African parliament on the recurrent attacks on Nigerians. Saraki said the purpose of the visit was to have deep engagement between members of parliament from Nigeria and South and South Africa with a view to finding a lasting solution to the recurrent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in particular and other nationals in that country. Violence had broken out in Pretoria West penultimate Saturday when citizens of South Africa looted and set the homes of foreigners, including Nigerians, on fire. The Senate had on Tuesday during plenary condemned in strong terms the return of xenophobic attacks and extrajudicial killing of Nigerians by the South Africans, including their police, and resolved to send a delegation to South Africa to engage their fellow parliamentarians on the matter. .
In a motion titled ‘Resurgence of Xenophobic Attacks and Extra-judicial Killings of Nigerians in South Africa’ by Senator Rose Oko (PDP Cross River North), Senate expressed worry that these xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings have perpetuated despite Nigeria’s remarkable contributions to the liberation of South Africa from the clutches of apartheid. She said “on February 18, this year, South Africans attacked and looted businesses belonging to Nigerians in Pretoria, pointing out that the acts violated Article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights which she said provided that ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.’” The lawmaker also recalled that in 2016, 20 Nigerians were killed under similar circumstances over allegations of drug trafficking without recourse to legal processes and the principle of fair hearing, adding that about 116 Nigerians have also been killed in the last two years. Senator Oko, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora, noted that the South Africans’ action were “not only against the principle and intent of the memorandum of understanding, MoU, and all known statues, international, regional and state, but is also capable of weakening the good diplomatic ties between the two nations, if urgent steps are not taken to address the ugly trend.” She noted that as a signatory to the UN Charter on Human Rights and African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, it was mandatory on South Africa to “respect, promote and observe” international laws on human rights.