The Federal Government, members of the House of Representatives and Nigerian youths, yesterday charged South African President, Jacob Zuma, to investigate the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in the country and apply appropriate sanctions.
The resolution was sequel to a motion titled: “Xenophobic Attack on Africans in South Africa,” sponsored by Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa (APC, Lagos).
In her lead debate, Dabiri-Erewa described as disturbing the constant, unwarranted and xenophobic attacks against African migrants in South Africa, whereby Africans in the country were being slaughtered like animals.
She noted that the recent attacks had left many dead, businesses and shops vandalised and many beaten up mercilessly as a result of inciting statements allegedly made by South African Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, “the recent attack 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.
“Its echo by son of President Zuma, Edward, 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 Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria.”
In his contribution, Hon. Tobi Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) reiterated that families of Nigerians who lost their lives or businesses during the xenophobic attack be compensated by the South African government.
Other lawmakers, who condemned the attack, described it as unfortunate considering how Nigeria assisted South Africa during the apartheid struggle.
We’ll protect Nigerians in S/Africa – FG
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, has assured that the Federal Government would spare no effort in protecting Nigerians in South Africa against any form of xenophobic attack.
He spoke to State House Correspondents yesterday against the background of reported attacks on non-nationals by South Africans.
Wali said the Head of Nigerian Mission in South Africa had taken precautionary measures by instructing Nigerians to remain indoors and shutdown their businesses until normalcy is restored.
According to the minister, the South African authorities have also stepped into the matter with a view to ending the impasse.
He said: “With the discussions I have been having with Nigeria’s Head of Mission in Pretoria, no Nigerian has so far been affected.
“They informed me that they have called the Nigerian community and addressed them and told them to close their shops, stay at home and keep out of trouble and obey the laws of South Africa.
“They have also confirmed that the South African authorities have moved in to take actions that would forestall any further disturbance in South Africa.
“If it gets worse, it is the duty of our country to make sure our people are brought back, and we are taking that duty serious.
“We are not prepared to allow any of our nationals to be subjected to such inhuman treatment,” he said.
Also yesterday, Nigerian youths called on the South African authorities to halt the ongoing xenophobic attacks on non-nationals in their territories with immediate effect or face similar treatment on their nationals in the country.
There has been disturbing videos showing South African locals attacking and burning foreigners alive and, in some instances, looting their shops.
Reacting to the incident, President, Nigerian Youth Congress, Mr. Yakubu Shendam, regretted that South Africa could allow such callous acts to be perpetrated against people that have contributed significantly to their continued existence as a nation.
He said it was ingratitude and sheer act of wickedness for any South African national to contemplate harming foreigners particularly Nigerians.
“South African citizens are scattered around Nigeria excelling in various businesses and are being protected by the government. In telecommunication alone, what South Africans make from Nigeria is unimaginable.
“If Nigerian government and people can provide enabling environment for South Africans to thrive and in turn her citizens are being maimed and killed for being foreigners, Nigerian youths may be compelled to met out similar treatment on South Africans operating in the country”, the youths warned.