The Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to the President, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has faulted statement made by the South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister on xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
“My attention was drawn to South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Mr. Malusi Gigaba’s statement in the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks, which has also brought reprisal attacks on MTN, a South African business conglomerate that “such issues were better discussed at the diplomatic levels” when more than 100 Nigerian lives have been lost in South Africa.” She said.
She said it appears that Mr. Gigaba would rather dwell on and entertain himself with diplomatic niceties,while the welfare of Nigerians resident in his country are at stake now more than any time in recent history.
Dabiri-Erewa said that his response to the xenophobic attacks, which has now become a recurring decimal on Africans, most especially to Nigerians living peacefully in South Africa was indeed unfortunate.
“While it’s no longer news that law-abiding Nigerians in that country have borne the major brunt of these attacks, the news by the Home Affairs Minister that his country is trying to get rid of criminals in his country at the time when indiscriminate mayhem and looting of law-abiding Nigerians is very suspicious, to say the least.
“Even if this unguarded statement must be taken in its face value, we wonder if wanton destruction and indiscriminate killing of their African brothers is the most sensible excuse to give.
“The home affairs minister should have been more guarded and introspective in his statements so as not to further fan the embers of xenophobia that may get out control if care is not taken.
“Nigeria and South Africa have a long-standing diplomatic relationship in which the former played a critical, if not a pivotal role that culminated in ending apartheid, among so many of her positive interventions.” She said.
According to her, indiscriminate killings, in which 116 deaths have been recorded, must not be how Nigeria should be paid back.
“Xenophobia is such a debilitating social disease, based mostly on ignorance, in which its carrier also suffers. I therefore suggest that the home affairs minister should engage in the mass education of the South African people about the debilitating effects of this disease with immediate effect.
“It’s apt to mention at this juncture that the home affairs minister only met with African consulates forum, an association of African consuls general, based in South Africa recently , despite the fact that this meeting was long overdue.
“Mr. Gigaba’s response to the mayhem that a segment of the South African people perpetrated on law-abiding Nigerians in South Africa smirks of insensitivity, and it’s therefore very reprehensible, if not unacceptable.
Dabiri-Erewa restated her earlier call on the African Union (AU) to take up the South Africa’s xenophobic issue as a matter of urgency.
She said the days that the Nigerian government will fold its arms while its citizens are maltreated to the point that some of them have lost their lives for no just cause are long gone.