Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has condemned the recent wave of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in Pretoria West, South Africa and called for justice for victims of the attacks.
The lawmakers also called on the South African government to ensure adequate protection of Nigerians, their businesses and property ahead of a planned protest by South African citizens against Nigerians on Friday.
At plenary yesterday, members queried why the Jacob Zuma-led government has been unable to stop the reoccurring attacks despite assurances he made during his visit to the Nigerian parliament in March 2016.
The lawmakers urged the Nigerian government to send a high powered delegation with a strong worded message, to government of South Africa, and remind of the consequences of xenophobic attacks against Nigerian citizens resident in the Southern African country.
Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Leo Ogor, while contributing to the discourse, accused South African police of complicity in the attack on Nigerians.
“When you watch television, and you see the South African police standing by, while the attacks happen, makes you query their adherence to the rule of law. If we as Nigerians can allow South African businesses to flourish, why can’t they extend same to us,” he said.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs should wake up…we will not allow this to continue,” Ogor added.
The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukeje lamented that the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa now occurs on a yearly basis.
The cordial relationship between the governments of both countries, does not extend to the citizens, Ukeje said, and called for inter-parliamentary engagement between the parliaments of both nations.
“Maybe parliamentary engagement would work, as legislators are closer to the people,” she advocated, as a way to enhance people to people relations.
Hon. Mark Gbillah (Benue APC) called on the federal government to issue travel advisory against South Africa.