Presidency, Senate Condemn Xenophobic Attacks against Nigerians in South Africa


Tobi Soniyi and Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The presidency has called on the African Union and the South African government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans within South African borders.

Also, the Senate Committee on Diaspora monday condemned the attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa and advised the federal government to take harder stance against the country.

The condemnation came on the heels of the reported killing of a 34-year-old Nigerian businessman, Tochukwu Nnadi, by South African police on December 29, 2016 as well as weekend attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the call in a statement she issued yesterday following reports of renewed violence against Nigerians and other Africans in South Africa.

The Nigerian community in South Africa led by Ikechukwu Anyene had confirmed the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West day.

Anyene said the Nigerian association had reported the incident to the Nigerian mission and South African police.
Anyene had said: “As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans.

“One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack.

“Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment.”
He also said the union had informed Nigerians in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of renewed xenophobic attacks.

According to him, the union received information that there would be xenophobic attacks against foreigners on February 22 and February 23.

While describing the attacks as an unnecessary setback, Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerians to be extra cautious.
She noted that it appeared the South African government had no control over the attacks.
The SSA, however, urged restraint on the part of Nigerians and warned that further attacks without any reprimand might have dire consequences.
Dabiri-Erewa said the attention of the AU was being called because of reports of planned attacks against foreigners on February 22 and 23.

“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” she said.
Dabiri-Erewa had two weeks ago met with the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, on the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.

Aaron-Mnguni promised that the South African government was investigating the matter.
“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed,” this is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria, Dabiri-Erewa said.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Rose Oko, who expressed displeasure over the continuous killings of Nigerians in South Africa, said the committee had sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking it to furnish it with details of what resulted in the attacks.

She said: “We have written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to avail us with happened in South Africa between the police and the man. We condemned in very strong terms these attacks on Nigerians. Several times, there are extra-judicial killings in South Africa and there is xenophobic Attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“You aware that in 2016 alone, about 20 Nigerians were killed in extra-judicial manners. Before this time, several of them had been killed in extra-judicial manner. There are several incidences of xenophobic attacks on Nigeria in South Africa.

“You are also aware that Nigeria and South Africa have excellent diplomatic ties. In 2013, when there was xenophobic attacks, former President Goodluck Jonathan signed a Memorandum of Understanding to re-enforce diplomatic ties,” she recalled.