South Africa’s Xenophobia: Anambra Police Stop NANS’ Attempt to Shut down MTN, Shoprite

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David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka

Attempt by members of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) to shut down the office of the mobile telecommunications giant, MTN, in Awka yesterday was stalled by the state Commissioner of Police, John Abang.

Members of the association had started assembling at the Amaenyi office of MTN in Awka, the Anambra State capital, as early as 8a.m. before its leadership was summoned by the commissioner.

The Coordinator and leader of the protest, Anthony Ojiaku, told THISDAY that its leadership had been summoned by the police commissioner, “so for now, we are shelving the protest until after the meeting.”

NANS had said it would shut down South African businesses in Nigeria over the continued attack on Nigerians living in South Africa.

A copy of notification letter dated July 22, 2019, which was signed by the National Director of Sports of NANS, Mr. Anthony Ojiaku, and addressed to some South African businesses in Nigeria, which was obtained by THISDAY, revealed that the students would yesterday morning shut down the MTN office in Awka.

The letter which was copied to the state Director of Department of State Security (DSS) and the state police commissioner, read in part: “We wish to introduce to you the National Association of Nigeria Student (NANS), the umbrella body of Nigerian students studying at home and abroad with a population of 40.1 million students.

“We are poised to protecting the rights and interests of Nigerian students as well as the citizens.

“We write to you on the need to conform with the matching order given by the national secretariat of NANS that all South African businesses in Nigeria should vacate the country Nigeria as a result of the continued xenophobic attack on Nigerians living in South Africa and the killing of Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, Deputy Director General of Chattered Insurance Institute of Nigeria at Emperor Palace Hotel in Johannesburg in June.”

The student group had said the organisations must note that their safety are not guaranteed if they failed to comply, while also adding that South African youths who engage in xenophobic killings had no monopoly to violence as the group would not continue to watch while its citizens are killed in the country.

A source within the association told THISDAY that the group had slated yesterday to shut down the MTN office in Awka, while on Thursday, it would move to Onitsha where it would equally shut down another South African business concern, including Shoprite.

The state Police Commissioner, Abang, who spoke to THISDAY, said he heard of the plan, and quickly intervened to forestall breakdown of law and order.

“I have a mandate to protect lives and property in the state, and what I did was to summon the leaders of the association to a meeting. They are young and can be violent, but I sat them down and spoke to them like a father.

“I told them the office they were going to attack does not have South Africans inside, but their own brothers and sisters. I also told them the implication of what they were about to do, and without deploying force, we were able to make them change their mind,” the state police boss said.

Meanwhile, THISDAY has gathered that the body of Mrs. Ndubuisi-Chukwu, who was killed in South Africa in June, would be buried today at her home town in Ihiala.

Chukwu’s body, which had earlier been flown from South Africa, had been in an undisclosed morgue in Asaba, Delta State, from where it would be conveyed home for burial today

Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has written both to the Nigeria and South African Governments on the need to find her killers, saying he would not relent until her killers are apprehended and prosecuted.