Xenophobic attacks: Obasanjo urges African countries to consider sanctions against South Africa if…

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Bankole Taiwo Abeokuta

Should South Africa failed to apologise and compensate for the losses suffered during recent xenophobic attacks in the country, Nigeria and other African countries whose citizens were affected should not hesitate to report South Africa to African Union (AU) while also applying further measures to get justice from the country.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo mnade this call in his reply to the letter written by the President of Inkatha Freedom Party, South Africa, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who had condemned this unpatriotic acts in his country and calling on African leaders to also rise in unison to fight off this bizzare acts.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday, through a statement from his Media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi said that “for any African country to encourage or allow or not seriously sanction xenophobia against Africans in their country, it is a great disservice not only to the country where xenophobia takes place and the countries of the victims concerned, but also a great disservice to the whole of Africa and black race”

The former President declared that there was “need for fence-mending, reconciliation and wound-binding between South Africa and the countries whose citizens have been victims of xenophobia and afrophobia in South Africa.

He added that “As a suggestion, South Africa should send emissaries to the countries concerned to explain, apologise and agree on the way forward for mutual understanding, accommodation, reconciliation, and binding the wound to promote unity, concord, and brotherhood in Africa”.

Obasanjo disclosed that “Repatriation of Nigerians from South Africa is obviously not a permanent solution. At best it is palliative. But the hurt will still remain for some time.  Neither is revenge a desirable solution. Mutual understanding and acknowledgement of what needs to be done on all sides is imperative and getting down to doing them is the solution that will serve Nigeria and South Africa and indeed Africa well particularly in this era of Africa Continental Free Trade Area opportunities.

“Nigeria and South Africa must stand together to champion African cause and to jointly shepherd African development, unity, cooperation, security, and progress to make the 21st century Africa’s century.”

Obasanjo said “the lessons to be learned from all this is that our individual countries in Africa must have programmes that will provide livelihoods for their teeming youth population to discourage youths from embarking on hazardous journeys to places where their lives will be in danger all in search of greener pastures that may never be there. Our youth too must learn that when they are in any country, they must be law-abiding and be actively productive members of their host country”.

Obasanjo urged South African government to stop denying problem of Xenophobic attacks in the country saying “ Anybody who can deny xenophobia in South Africa of today can as well deny that my mother is a woman. It is no longer a game of denial but game of accepting the reality and working on solving the problem”.

The former President said “in the final analysis, if South Africa fails to initiate appropriate and satisfactory steps to deal with the issues to pacify affected victims and work for reconciliation with the countries concerned to put an end to xenophobia, the concerned countries of the victims should come together to table appropriate motions at the AU level first and consider other measures if the situation is allowed to continue”

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