Stop Attacking Shoprite, MTN, Others, FG Tells Nigerians

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* Multichoice, MTN condemn attacks in South Africa

 

Reactions to Xenophobic Attacks… 

Our Correspondents

The federal government has asked Nigerians to stop attacking South African businesses, saying investors and workers in the companies are Nigerians.

The Special Adviser to the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, in a statement yesterday, said the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described as disturbing reports that angry Nigerians had started attacking South African companies in Nigeria.

He said targeting South African companies in Nigeria for attack was akin to cutting off ones nose to spite the face because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.

Mohammed said the majority of the workers in the South African companies operating in Nigeria were also Nigerians, meaning that Nigerian workers would be the hardest hit if the companies were forced to shut down.

He assured Nigerians that the federal government was already taking measures to put an end to persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

‘‘President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched a Special Envoy to convey to his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.

”Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, acting on the instruction of Mr. President, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and secure assurance of the safety of their lives and property,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Nigeria and MTN Nigeria have condemned the Monday attacks on Nigerian citizens and their property in South Africa.

The management of the two businesses owned by South Africans, also called for peace in Nigeria and asked Nigerians to shun any form of violence and reprisal attacks.

According to a statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, “Multichoice Nigeria is committed to uniting Africans through our programming and cultural initiatives. We advocate equality and condemn all forms of discrimination. The ongoing violence in South Africa against foreign nationals is against the spirit of Africa and counter-productive to the decades of work done by African leaders and well-meaning organisations to unite the continent.”

The statement added: “We embrace and celebrate the diversity of varied nationalities, traditions, cultures and religions from across the continent and beyond. This is demonstrated through our multinational stall complement, our multicultural supply chain, as well as the local and international content that we showcase on both our DStv and GOtv platforms. We believe Africa’s lull potential can only be realised through dialogue, peace. and unity.”

This is a sombre period for every African on the continent and beyond. and we urge all our customers, followers and stakeholders to shun violence, the statement added.

In another statement signed by the Manager, Public Relations and Protocol, MTN Nigeria, Onome Okwah, MTN Nigeria said it strongly condemned the attacks.

MTN Nigeria strongly condemns hate, prejudice and xenophobia and reiterate our unequivocal condemnation of all violence.

We seek to connect people, bring people together and provide a platform for everyone’s voice to be heard. We are against all forms of bigotry and discrimination; they should have no place in society.

Everyone has the right to a world where their rights and freedoms are respected — the right to live and earn a living, freely, safely and protected by the law, the statement said.

Meanwhile the federal government, yesterday, dispatched a special envoy to convey to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa the President’s deep concerns over reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29.

Mission Blames Increased Attacks on Nigerians on Lack of Prosecution of Culprits

Nigerian Mission in South Africa has attributed the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and spate of violence to weak judicial system and lack of adequate stringent measures against crimes in South Africa.

The Nigeria Consul General in Johannesburg, Mr. Godwin Adama, made this known in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

Adama said that lack of arrest, prosecution and trial with stringent punishment against crimes and other offences contributed to the spate of violence in South Africa.

The consul general was reacting to renewed attacks against foreigners on Aug. 28 and September 1, in Pretoria and Johannesburg, leading to looting and burning of businesses and property belonging foreigners and death of three people.

Adama therefore called for review of the South African judicial system to promote the fights against crime and all forms of impunity in that country. “The judicial system is very lenient with those types of crimes, so if somebody commits crime now, the system will grant him bail immediately.

Abaribe: It’s Time to Go Beyond Diplomatic Rhetoric

Minority leader of the Senate Enyinnaya Abaribe has urged the federal government of Nigeria to go beyond diplomatic rhetoric and compel the government of South Africa to stop the he attacks and killing of Nigerians living in that country.

Abaribe in statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Uchenna Awom yesterday in Abuja, described as barbaric the unwarranted attack.

He said that the seeming cold approach of the South African government to the vexed issue cast it as being complicit.

“That being the case, our government must go beyond diplomatic niceties and ensure the protection of our people living in that country henceforth. “The presidency must stamp their feet on the ground and call that government to order.

“We have an emergency, this is not the time to play good guy on international diplomacy.

The gory picture of our people being slaughtered on the streets of South Africa in recent times lowers our collective spirit, even as it tends to diminish Nigeria’s prestige in the committee of nations,” he said.

Abaribe added that it is inconceivable that South Africans would go this deplorable route against Nigerians, who committed huge human and material resources during their very dark hours in the ignoble days of apartheid.

Lawyer Urges FG to Take Drastic Measures

A constitutional lawyer, Mr Realwan Okpanachi, has urged the federal government to take drastic measures that would send a strong signal to the South African Government over Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

Okpanachi, told a correspondent of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the government must take drastic action against the onslaught, killings and maiming of Nigerian citizens, their businesses and property by the South African citizens and their police.

“The renewed attacks and killing of Nigerians in South Africa is unacceptable and stands condemned.

“It is time for our government to rise to the occasion and man up in its responsibility to ensure protection of lives and properties of Nigerians within and outside Nigeria.

“We must make the South African government understand that we value our citizens irrespective of our shortcomings by severing diplomatic ties with them and treat them as a hostile nation,’’ he said.

Orji Kalu Calls for Retaliation

Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, has condemned the attacks meted out on Nigerian people in South Africa, calling on all Nigerians to stand firm and retaliate rather than waiting on the South Africans to fish out the perpetrators.

Kalu, a two-time Governor of Abia State in a statement issued by his Media Team yesterday said “the gruesome killings, looting, arson of properties belonging to Nigerians and attack of Nigerian Embassy in South Africa is ill-conceived, disheartening and wicked.

“How can any sensible person attack and burn a fellow human being just because he or she has a feeling to do so? Those mindless criminals who attacked and prevented law abiding Nigerians to freely conduct their businesses must be made to pay for their crimes. Arresting them is not enough,” he decried

Reports show that over 70 shops/businesses were destroyed, looted and burnt on Monday night in Malvern area of Johanesburg.

Kalu questioned the essence of the renewed attack on Nigerians adding that South Africans in Nigeria have always lived and conducted their businesses in peace.

Consider Military Options, Nationalisation- AIED Tells FG

The Advocacy for Integrity and Economic Development (AIED) has advised the federal government to put all options on the table in dealing with the unending xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa. The organisation in a statement yesterday by its Director of Media and Publicity, O’Seun John, condemned the targeted harassment, killings and destruction of Nigerian business in South Africa allegedly aided by the South African government.

According to the statement, “We have taken time to study various reports of the xenophobic attacks against nationals of African countries and India in South Africa and we have come to the conclusion that these attacks are not only intentional and unprovoked but that they are being carried out with tactical approval of the South African government.

“In any country around the world, the deliberate targeting of citizens of another country and killing of same is a concise invitation to war.

“We implore the Nigerian Government to take off the kid-gloves and stand firm to protect its citizens and the pride of the country.

“The Nigerian Government should as a matter of urgency begin the process of nationalising all assets and businesses of South African interest in the country.”

Ex-Lawmaker Asks N/Assembly to Reconvene

A former House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Agricultural Colleges and Institution, Hon. Linus Okorie, has called on the leadership of the National Assembly to reconvene from their annual recess and saved Nigerians in South Africa from the renewed violent xenophobic attacks.

Okorie, who represented Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency in the last National Assembly, noted that his call was urgent and expedient in lieu of the fact that the Legislature is the voice of the people all over the democratic world.

The two-term member therefore called on the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, to immediately reconvene the joint session of the National Assembly to debate the escalating Xenophobic attacks in South Africa and the safety and welfare of Nigerians in that country; including diplomatic and economic options to better encourage the South African government to prompt, definite and permanent action in upholding her obligations to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians and other Africans under extant international laws and protocols.

He stressed that the renewed xenophobic attacks on foreigners, especially Nigerians, in South Africa calls for urgent national emergency as helpless Nigerians are being killed, maimed and their property and life investments looted and destroyed on a daily basis.

Stop Attacking Shoprite, MTN, Others, FG Tells Nigerians

The federal government has asked Nigerians to stop attacking South African businesses, saying investors and workers in the companies are Nigerians. The Special Adviser to the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi, in a statement yesterday, said the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described as disturbing reports that angry Nigerians had started attacking South African companies in Nigeria.

He said targeting South African companies in Nigeria for attack was akin to cutting off ones nose to spite the face because the investors in such companies, especially MTN and Shoprite, are Nigerians.

Mohammed said the majority of the workers in the South African companies operating in Nigeria were also Nigerians, meaning that Nigerian workers would be the hardest hit if the companies were forced to shut down. He assured Nigerians that the federal government was already taking measures to put an end to persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

‘‘President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched a Special Envoy to convey to his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.

”Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, acting on the instruction of Mr. President, has summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria to get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and secure assurance of the safety of their lives and property,” the minister said.