Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has called on the South African Government to educate its citizens on the contributions of Nigeria to the former apartheid enclave.
She emphasized that Nigeria and South Africa had a long-standing diplomatic relationship in which Nigeria played a critical, if not a pivotal role that culminated in ending apartheid, among so many of her positive interventions.
The presidential aide in a statement on Sunday in Abuja stated that the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants could not be resolved by diplomatic niceties, stressing that the Federal Government would not fold her arms while its citizens were being killed.
Her statement was in reaction to the position of South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, that there was no need for the African Union intervention in the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants.
“Mr. Gigaba’s response to the mayhem that a segment of the South African people perpetrated on law-abiding Nigerians in South Africa smirks of insensitivity, and it’s therefore very reprehensible, if not unacceptable”.
“In view of this unfortunate statement, I am therefore restating my earlier call on the African Union to take up the South Africa’s xenophobic issue as a matter of urgency.”
The SSA noted that law-abiding Nigerians in the former apartheid enclave had borne the major brunt of xenophobic attacks, noting that the statement by Gigaba that his country was trying to get rid of criminals in his country at this time was very suspicious.
“Even if this unguarded statement must be taken in its face value, we wonder if wanton destruction and indiscriminate killing of their African brothers is the most sensible excuse to give,” she said.
Also, a human rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has urged the Southern African Development Community to investigate and punish the people behind the persistent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals living in South Africa.