Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 23 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that the incessant killings of Nigerians in the diaspora are not unconnected with how little Nigerians value human life at home.
Responding to a question on the endless killings of Nigerians in South Africa, Obi said the development is worrisome, but added that it tells a lot about how Nigerians value themselves and how others value the country.
He said that the hundreds of Nigerians killed in South Africa and other countries of the world would not have risen to such disturbing heights if the country had reacted appropriately as a country that has high value for the lives of its citizens.
Obi who said that Nigerians should not be killed anywhere, more so in South Africa, given the huge sacrifice made by Nigeria, including the resources it deployed, to secure South Africa’s freedom, decried the poor appreciation of the country’s efforts by South Africans.
The former Anambra State governor particularly recalled the personal efforts he made when he was governor to visit South Africa twice to discuss this menace in his meetings with Okey Emuchay and Uche Okeke, the Nigerian diplomats in charge in South Africa at the various times of his visit.
He, however, noted that the targeting of Nigerians by these killers has a lot to do with the way and manner Nigeria treats her own people.
“When we criminalise our people all the time, you don’t expect to get the desired respect and valuing from other people.
“For Ghanaians to be listed among nationals that can enter South Africa without visa while Nigerians are being subjected to such extreme humiliation and killings, should tell a lot about how the global community regards us.”
Speaking against the backdrop of the latest killing of a top Nigerian Lady, former Deputy Director General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubisi-Chukwu, Obi said that the record of deaths of Nigerians in South Africa was unacceptable and should not be tolerated any longer by Nigeria.
He advised the two leading continental nations to treat this matter as critical and take steps to stem the killings to prevent any possible follow-up consequences.
He finally called on relevant agencies and persons in government who need to act on these killings to treat them as a priority by bringing to bear all the necessary energy and urgency to stem the menace and avert the consequent diplomatic impasse.