Nigeria’s greatness in Africa is not only about its land mass or its population that covers one-fifth of the black continent. Nigeria contributed immensely to the emancipation of other African countries that were struggling to get independence from the European imperialists who held sway in Africa for at least a century. After its own independence in 1960, Nigeria didn’t stand aloof to see its African neighbours still being gripped by the tight fists of the colonial masters. This alone is enough to qualify Nigeria as a great country when it comes to international relations though. And this is also enough to earn the country not only reputation but also reverence and its citizens living in those countries Nigeria helped to be free from colonization.
For years now, Nigerians making their livelihoods in South Africa have been passing through hard times, they have been unnecessarily, but violently, attacked by their black counterparts in the formerly apartheid-seized South Africa. Lives and inestimable properties have been lost in a series of attacks on unarmed Nigerians. Some unscrupulous individuals who possess arms but probably lack jobs fear that Nigerians are taking up their jobs, hence, denying them an opportunity to prosper in their own country.
While Nigerians were condemning the killings and calling on the Federal Government to do more to protect Nigerians abroad, the Imo State governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, built a statue for the then President Jacob Zuma. Life seems less important to the Nigerian government because a country that has value for its citizens will ensure they are protected both at home and abroad.
The Nigerian Community in South Africa has staged a number of protests against the wanton killings. But, apparently, those protests have yielded no other result than more killings and attacks. This is because the Federal Government has yet to take proactive steps against the incident. Being a strategic partner to other African countries, the Nigerian government can either expel some South African diplomats in Nigeria, or summon the South African High Commissioner, or temporarily shut down the Nigerian embassy in South Africa. This will send a great message to the South African government that Nigerians’ lives there matter a lot. Better still, the Nigerian government should just advise its citizens to stop going to the xenophobic country citing insecurity. This will also go a long way to awake the South African government from its slumber.