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Presidency seeks review of early warning signal with South Africa on xenophobia

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Presidency yesterday called for an urgent review of the Early Warning Signal (EWS) put in place by  Nigeria and South Africa in 2017.The EWS is a multi-sectoral mechanism to afford Nigerians living in South Africa access to the agencies responsible for their safety and security, as well as the mandate to address their complaints in that country.It guarantees and protects the interest of Nigerians when such early signals occur.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) made the call in a statement by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun on Wednesday in Abuja.

The presidential aide, who was reacting to the latest killings of two young Nigerians in South Africa, said the efforts that led to the establishment of the EWS were not working.
“The present mechanisms seem to do little or nothing to prevent the occurrences of these killings,’’ she said.Dabiri-Erewa said Nigeria must speed up the process of finalising the EWS implementation by South Africa.

According to her, the review and urgent implementation are imperative as the attacks in South Africa are not reducing but instead increasing at an alarming rate.She also appealed to Nigerians living in South Africa to remain calm and shelve their proposed mass protest.

She told them to await immediate intervention from both countries to stop the killings and bring the culprits to justice.She noted that while four South African policemen were already on trial for allegedly killing Nigerians in South Africa, it is imperative that anyone found culpable must be punished.

The Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, Habib Miller, told newsmen that two additional Nigerians were killed in South Africa in the past eight days.Miller identified the latest victims as Francis Ochuba, a native of Ngodo community in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia and Chidi Ibebuike, a native of Uturu in the Isuikwuato Local Government Area also in Abia.

“Ochuba, a property owner, was shot dead alongside his estate agent, a female South African, on May 5. They were shot dead as they visited the tenant occupying Ochuba’s house to collect rent.”

“The incident occurred in Central Johannesburg, while Ibebuike was shot dead at the entrance to his house at Hazyview in Mpumalanga on May 13.
“Ibebuike’s car was subsequently snatched by gunmen.“The Chairman of the Nigeria Union in Mpumalanga Province, in company of other compatriots, reported the incident to the South African police authorities and investigation is underway.”“Up to 800,000 Nigerians, mostly young people, reside in South Africa, according to unofficial estimates,” Miller said.  (NAN)

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