Xenophobic attacks: Evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa
Last week, news reports reflected on the xenophobic attacks on foreigners affected nationals from various African countries like Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. South African are staging protests and demanding that foreigners leave their country.
The first batch of Nigerians to arrive country today from South Africa – about 320 – are expected to arrive at 2pm. The xenophobic attacks, which appeared to be intense last week, led to the death of at least five persons, which, according to the South African police, were mostly South African nationals. Also, news reports from both international and local media reveal that the South African police arrested 189 persons involved in the xenophobic attack last week.
A Twitter report by @qzafrica yesterday reveals that the South African police confirmed 12 people, including two foreigners, have been killed and 639 people had been arrested as of Monday after the latest wave of attacks as dozens of foreign-owned businesses were looted and destroyed.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari has on Monday, 9th September directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, to engage the South African authorities on the “appropriate measures” that will end the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. Also, a statement made by the Chairman of Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa is scheduled to commence today Wednesday.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa reportedly confirmed: "At least 640 Nigerians have registered to come back home from South Africa and Air Peace will transport them home in two operations."
On The Causes of the latest series of xenophobic attacks, the root causes of the latest series of attacks are unclear, although analysts suggest stubbornly high unemployment and grinding poverty were fuelling criminality.
Adetola Olubajo who joins Wemimo and Sheriff on Morning Crossfire is asked whether he left South Africa because of the attacks to which he says no. “I have some things to do in my personal capacity and I also decided to take the issue up by speaking to people in government. Also, I’m talking to civil organizations that can help in advancing our course for peace for people living in South Africa.”
Temi Gold Olaoye also adds that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a good step. He says what is happening in South Africa needs a two-edged sword for solution. “We condemn maltreatment of Nigerians and we also detest that Nigerians are murdered. Government needs to be careful that’s why I say government must use a two-edged sword.” He also says that there are some Nigerians in South Africa who don’t live a decent life in that country but for others who are living a reputable life, they are doing good in that country.
Wemimo asks if it matters what someone does in South Africa. Should they just lose their lives because of what they do? These are illegal migrants. Should it not be okay for these Nigerians to be deported, instead of the beatings, the lynching and the killings?
Temi Gold says “we only have 27,000 and more Nigerians in that country while other countries in Africa have many more people in that country. We are there and we know that it is true that the target are people on the street. It is a wrong perception for the media to say that the South African government is sponsoring the information that these things are happening because Nigerians are engaging in criminal activities. It is also a wrong perception that it is only Nigerians that are affected in that country. We speak about Nigerians because we are Nigerians.
What are the measures you think the Federal Government could exploit in order to ensure the South African government compensate Nigerians who have lost their properties?
Watch the program below and drop your comments
•Adetola Olubajo - President, Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA)
•Temi Gold Olaoye - 1st President and Charman in Council Nigerian Belgrade Serbian Chamber of Commerce