South Africa Must Stop Justifying Xenophobic Attacks, Says Falana

Femi Falana

Martins Ifijeh

A Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, has called on the South African government to stop justifying xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans living in that country.

Falana, in a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, said before the recent attacks unleashed on African immigrants, including Nigerians, political figures in the country have been caught on tape inciting their youths against foreign traders.

He said: “While pretending to condemn the attacks, the Cyril Ramaphosa regime has said that many Nigerians living in South Africa are drug addicts!

“This is an unfortunate statement, as the authorities in Pretoria ought to have arrested, prosecuted and jailed the Nigerians allegedly involved in drug trafficking in South Africa. Are we to believe that the immigrants from other African countries have been attacked because of their involvement in the drug business?

“No doubt, many Nigerian youths like their South African counterparts have embraced drugs out of frustration. But that cannot be a basis for tarnishing the image of all Nigerian immigrants by calling them drug addicts.”

Falana said political leaders of both countries should address the crises of poverty, inequality, unemployment, corruption and violence caused by the religious implementation of neo-liberal policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the two largest economies in Africa.

He said as a matter of urgency, the Ramaphosa regime should deal with the shameful involvement of South African citizens, including some public officers and their family members in drug trafficking in and outside Africa.