Renewed xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa

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Some centuries ago, the white minority regime in South Africa which was popularly referred to as the Apartheid regime heavily and cruelly descended on South Africans and laid waste to the whole country.

The apartheid regime became more truculent in their treatment of the natives such that the natives virtually found it difficult to live in their country.  They were subjected to harsh treatment of great magnitude which made their survival nearly impossible. Those among them who were fortunate to read up to university level were doing menial jobs as low as bus conductors and taxi drivers and in the 60s, they were many teaching in Nigerian schools to earn a living.

The then Prime Minister, the late Ian Smith and his cohorts were meting out the type of the Biblical Pharaoh’s punishment on the Israelites to the South Africans. In the process, many died in misery and physical torture. The situation got to a point where the white minority were avoiding the natives like a leper. The white man would not even travel with black South Africans natives in a public bus. They didn’t have anything to do with the natives.

Amid those extreme provocations and brazen disposition by the white against the citizenry, the African National Congress (ANC) the only popular and influential party in South Africa took the bull by the horns and dared the white minority. Among their members were the legendary late Nelson Mandela, Jacob Zuma and others who later became a thorn in the flesh of the volatile and unfeeling apartheid regime. They all fought apartheid to a standstill.  In what appeared to be a twist in the whole saga, Mandela and others were arrested and committed to prison. In the case of Mandela, he spent the better part of his life in jail having been convicted when he was in his 30s. It was an inauspicious moment for the South Africans in their own country as captured in their National Anthem which goes thus.

“Oh God bless our native Africa, O God bless our native Africa, Lord, may she arise and conquer now, O God we beseech thee hear.  O God we beseech thee hear, Spirit of God, spirit of God, come to us now and bless us”  was what they sang during their captivity in their own land.

During their deprivation and harsh treatment by the white minority, it is pertinent to mention that among African countries which were supposed to support the South Africans in their predicament and austerity it was only our country Nigeria which stood out with its tacit support of the beleaguered natives. Other countries were just paying lip service by way of oral condemnation of the apartheid in both print and electronic media.

Nigeria even gave its moral and financial support to the visibly battered natives. The country was the God-sent messiah to the South Africans in their hour of need. There is no gainsaying the fact Nigeria’s gesture virtually sounded the death knell of the condemnable Apartheid regime in South  Africa.

Today, in what appeared to be an irony of history, some years ago, the once battered and ignominiously treated South Africans in their wildest imagination woke up to start killing Nigerians, mostly businessmen in their country without no justifiable or cogent reason and on the flimsy excuse that the Nigerians were about to take over their businesses which was later found to be false in its entirety.

However, by frank efforts of the Federal Government through the External Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyema, Special Adviser to the President on Diaspora, Abike-Dabiri Erewa and the country’s Ambassador to South Africa among others, the madness subsided for some times. As the Federal Government was heaving a sigh of relief over the situation, two weeks ago, the South Africans replicated their brutish propensity by killing about 10 Nigerians in an unprovoked attack in their country thus stultifying the earlier efforts of the Federal Government. The latest killings were greeted with wide condemnations and rising emotions  by Nigerians asking for the reason for the latest action of the South Africans.

On our own part, we will not relent in calling for stiffer sanction against South Africa if they refuse to call their citizens to order. One way is by taking over their investments and other draconian sanctions for them to desist from killing our citizens in their country.  Nigeria cannot afford to continuously be the giant of Africa to the detriment of our citizens’ massacre. We believe if Nigeria tinkers with their investment, they will see reason and probably repent.

Enough of these escalated and unprovoked killings. All the shuttles embarked on by Onyema Abike-Dabiri Erewa and other top government officials between Nigeria and South Africa over this orgy of killings seem not to produce the desired result, hence our call for stiffer sanctions against the country, let us use this policy to test the waters.

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