Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Environmental activist and the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey, has declined participation in the forthcoming conference tagged ‘Financing the Future’, scheduled to hold between September 10 and 11, 2019, in Cape Town.
Bassey in a statement issued Wednesday said that his decision was in solidarity with victims of the ongoing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
The environmental activist who was invited as a speaker and as one of the Global Ambassadors, said that having watched the spate of hate and xenophobia being played out on the streets of South Africa, he was deeply disappointed that political leaders could allow things to degenerate to the level that was being displayed.
Bassey had agreed to attend the conference, had obtained a visa and received the international air ticket for his participation but had to cancel the appointment as a mark of honour to the victims of the mindless violence of Nigerians and other Africans living in South Africa.
According to him, the hate and the resultant violence against “others” reminds us of the dark apartheid days and appears to underscore the deep disruptions that swirl under the surface of a deeply unequal society.
Bassey was of the opinion that the violence against Nigerians in South Africa should agitate the entire continent and that the African Union (AU) should urgently step up and play a role in realigning the mindsets of all Africans, irrespective of colour or location.
He said it was time for federal government to draw the line and demand that leaders in South Africa should make efforts to improve the lives of their people and get the nation to work rather than indulge in banditry and shedding of innocent blood.
While condemning the horrible attacks, he noted the radical role Nigeria played in fighting against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Bassey however urged Nigerians not to vent their anger and frustration on South African businesses in Nigeria, stressing that two wrongs never make a right.