Akinyemi Asks FG to Drag South Africa Before ICJ over Xenophobic Attacks

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Following the persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerian citizens in South Africa, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, yesterday advised the federal government to drag the South African government before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In a statement titled, ‘South African on Xenophobic Attacks on Nigeria,’ Akinyemi said the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants were acts sponsored by the South African state in violation of Article 2, Paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among others.

For instance, the professor of political science pointed out that the statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr. Grace Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers, among other officials, were inciting.

Akinyemi cited, “the statement credited to the South African Minister of International Relations, Dr. Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, that Nigerians were drug dealers; and the statement credited to Deputy Police Minister, Bongani Mkongi, that they fought for their land and that that land would not be surrendered to immigrants.

“The statement credited to the South African Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that South Africa is an angry nation and that the country could not prevent the xenophobic attacks; and various statements credited to South African diplomats blaming the immigrants,” was also cited by Akinyemi.

Akinyemi also noted “the anti-immigrant acts by the South African Immigration service officials which for all practical purposes amount to holding Nigerian immigrants hostage by refusing to allow them to be evacuated; I have come to the conclusion that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants are acts sponsored or condoned by the South African state in violation of:  Article 2, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“Article 2, paragraph 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; United Nations Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination; and the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers.

“I, therefore, call on Nigeria to sue South Africa before the International Court of Justice for failure in its duty of care and protection of Nigerian citizens’ resident there. I furthermore call on Nigeria to file complaints against specific South African officials at the International Criminal Court for aiding and abetting the xenophobic attacks.”