By Anthony Ogbonna
Following the resurfaced xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other nationals living in South Africa, the Senate, during plenary on Tuesday, resolved to send a strong delegation of Nigerian legislatures to the South African parliament to put an end to the ugly trend. The Senate equally warned that should the trend persist, Nigeria may be forced to reconsider its diplomatic ties with South Africa.
In a motion of urgent need raised by by Senator Rose Oko on the resurgence of Xenophobic Attacks and Extra-judicial killings of Nigerians in South Africa by the South African Police and nationals, the Senate recounted how one Tockuwu Nnadi was on 29th December, 2016 killed in an extra judicial manner through strangulation by the South African police.
The Senate also recalled that the President of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, Mr. Ikechukwu Anyene had confirmed the attack and looting of businesses owned by Nigerians by the South African people.
The Senate also worried that the attacks have perpetuated despite Nigeria’s remarkable contributions to the liberation of South Africa from the clutches of apartheid.
To this end, the Senate resolved as follows: To “Condemn in strong terms the return of the Xenophobic attacks and extra-judicial killings Nigerians by the South African police, and South Africans.”
“Invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs to provide insight into Govt’s plans towards engaging the S.African govt to effectively end the xenophobic attacks that just resurfaced and the growing incidence of extra-judicial killings of Nigerians.”
The senate also resolved to “Urge the federal Government to reconsider Nigeria’s diplomatic ties with South Africa if the ugly incidents of xenophobic attacks & killings of Nigerians in South Africa are not urgently halted by the South African Government.
It also agreed to “Lead a delegation of Nigerian Legislators to the South African parliament to address the ugly trend.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the incident is a sad and unfortunate one. Saraki urged the South African Government to as a matter of urgency put an end to the attacks on Nigerians, saying both countries have enjoyed great relationship over the years.
“We must preserve our dignity and respect for Nigerians, we must be seen to be defending our people at all times,” Saraki said.
Saraki also commend Nigerians for showing constraints by not attacking South African companies in Nigeria as a reprisal attack, saying “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Recall that some days back, South Africans attacked Nigerians and looted their shops. The Nigeria`s Consul General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke while visiting Nigerian victims of the Xenophobic attack described it as unfortunate, saying while a pastor was stabbed, another Nigerian was arrested by the South African police for defending himself.
She said, “ We visited seven locations in Pretoria West. At the first location, a garage, 29 cars, 80 Nigerian passports, welding and painting appliances and a restaurant were burnt while cash totalling R140, 000(N3.360m) were removed,”
Recall also that the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Lulu Mnguni had, while reacting to the attacks said that some Nigerians and other nationals living in South Africa were engaging in drug peddling which according to him, is a violation of his country’s laws.
He said there were concerns among South Africans that a few foreigners, including Nigerians, were involved in drug peddling.
“We are not condoning violence, but it will be wrong not to reflect the concerns of South Africans, especially with regard to drug trafficking. “We must not look at one side even though we are not condoning it. People must not take laws into their hands. “When people go to other countries, they must respect the laws of the country,’’ he said.
Recall also that the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS had, during a protest in Abuja, warned that its students nationwide would resort to violence against South African nationals and companies in Nigeria should the xenophobic attacks continue in South Africa.
Many other well-meaning Nigerians had equally condemned the attacks.