by Ujuh Correspondent
Reports of ‘xenophobic attacks‘ in South Africa against Nigerians and other Africans have caused angry reactions across the continent and mainly in Nigeria. A strong statement issued by the Nigerian presidency condemning the ‘xenophobic attacks’ has been followed by widespread angry media statements and protests.
Here follows how different Nigerian media has framed the story:
“Edo State Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki has condemn in strong term the Xenophobic attack on Nigerian citizens living in South Africa calling on the Federal Government, Foreign Affair Ministry and the South Africa government to protect Nigerians in that Country.
“Obaseki who frowns at the sufferings, maltreatment and inhuman treatment Nigerians under go in foreign land like Libya and South Africa saying that as a country we should not and must not continue to seat idle and allow our citizens to suffer and be maltreated doing nothing to rescue them as a nation.
“‘As a country, we should not and must not continue to seat idle and allow our citizens to be maltreated doing nothing. We in Edo State condemn it and calling on Federal Authority especially our Foreign Affairs Ministry to ensure that they don’t take the issue of our citizens for granted as a lot of our people have been maltreated and subjected to inhuman treatment in Libya’”.
Obaseki said given our status in the Africa Continent, we should not continue to accept it. “’I join you to call on the Federal Government that the welfare of our citizens abroad particularly in the Continent is what we should take seriously as a nation’” he concluded.
“Following the collapse of the Apartheid regime in 1994, South Africa threw open its borders to migrants from the rest of Africa and visitors from all over the world. Migrants from other African countries were welcomed, even celebrated, as brothers, sisters and ideological comrades whose sacrifices had helped to liberate South Africa from Boer rule. Because Nigeria, though geographically distant, was a ‘frontline’ state in the anti-Apartheid struggle, Nigerians were accorded special treatment as leading South African politicians openly acknowledged the material generosity and moral support of successive Nigerian administrations for the cause of South African freedom.
“Alas, this situation did not last. As the self-described ‘Rainbow Nation’ found it increasingly hard to deliver on the promise of economic prosperity for all, frustration mounted, especially among the poor in the townships and urban areas. With the hospitality of those early post-Apartheid days virtually forgotten, the poor turned their anger on ‘foreigners,’ who became an easy scapegoat, even as a new black middle class gorged itself on the riches of the country.
“From that time forward, the experience of African migrants in South Africa began to change. For various reasons which space and time do not permit, Nigerian migrants have been a focal target of xenophobic attacks by frustrated South African youths, and at different times, we have condemned such attacks and demanded that the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the High Commission in South Africa step in to defend the interests of Nigerians.
Following Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa’s visit, (to) Mr. Lulu Louis Mnguni (has promised an investigation into the killings of Nigerians by South African policemen. We hope that he is true to his word, for that is the minimum desideratum to begin to address the skepticism of other Africans who are mystified at the contradiction between South Africans’ verbal championing of Ubuntu (‘I am what I am because of who we all are’) on the one hand, and consistent maltreatment of foreigners on the other. If Nigerians and other Africans cannot feel at home in South Africa, what hope for Ubuntu?
In our view, any country that could treat the loss of 116 citizens in a foreign land with levity is simply a basket case. To say the least, the attitude of the Nigerian government to the killings in South Africa is disgraceful. A serious country would have extracted more than facetious promises of action in similar circumstances. The Nigerian governmemt should have made it clear in the diplomatic circles that there would be very grievous consequences for the callous murder of its citizens. The murder of Nigerians in South Africa and elsewhere will continue for as long as the government maintains its cavalier attitude to the life of its citizens.
Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has reacted to violent acts against Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa.
The musician stated that the late South Africa President, Nelson Mandela, should be blamed for the xenophobic attacks.
Seun made his feelings known in a Facebook post on Friday.
He wrote: “Hey Black South Africans aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? Has your spirit of revolution completely destroyed by your rudderless ANC to the extent that you have become cowards who bully fellow Africans? Fellow Brothers?”
“Ok answer me this. If every Nigerian is deported out of South Africa there will be no more crime in South Africa? There will be no more injustice and inequality? Mandela once again thanks for your rainbow nation. Thanks for teaching your people to love whites but forgot to tell them to embrace blacks.”
Nigeria has appealed to the South African Government to take every step necessary to protect its citizens in the face of renewed wave of xenophobic attacks in the country.
The call was made by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadijat Bukar Abba, at a news conference in Abuja.
Mrs Abba urged Nigerians to be calm while assuring them that the government was taking steps to address the matter.
Followig recent reports of violence against Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa, Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has accused the late president of the country, Nelson Mandela for the xenophobic attacks.
Seun, the charismatic leader of Fela’s legendary Afrobeat orchestra, Egypt 80 questioned the attacks in a Facebook post.
He asks; “Hey Black South Africans aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? Has your spirit of revolution completely destroyed by your rudderless ANC to the extent that you have become cowards who bully fellow Africans? Fellow Brothers?”
The post further reads: “Ok answer me this. If every Nigerian is deported out of South Africa there will be no more crime in South Africa? There will be no more injustice and inequality? Mandela once again thanks for your rainbow nation. Thanks for teaching your people to love whites but forgot to tell them to embrace blacks.”
Though his father passed on almost two decades ago, his spirit still lives on in Seun Kuti as he has proven himself to be an outspoken political activist.
This article was first published in Ujuh