XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS: NLC DEMANDS PUNISHMENT

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the South African Government to arrest and prosecute those behind the mindless attack on foreigners to prevent further occurrence. NLC President,  Ayuba Wabba made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday, in Abuja.

 

“The NLC affirms that the recent February 2017 xenophobic attack, like previous ones in 2008 and 2015, is yet another unacceptable and avoidable development. “We, totally, condemn it and call on the South African Government to move, without further delay, to take actions to prevent another occurrence. “It is unacceptable that foreigners, migrants, refugees and Asylum Seekers, are labeled criminals as a justification to subject them to extra-judicial actions. “NLC considers the South Africa government’s condemnation of this recent xenophobic attack as a positive action. “We, however, call on the government to go beyond condemnation to investigate, prosecute and sanction persons, groups or individuals that might have played any role in this mindless attack on foreigners,” he said.

 

He said if such action is taken, a conscious approach to accountability would send a firm signal to other potential xenophobes and xenophobia instigators and participators of the consequences that await perpetrators. The NLC president said people, especially migrants, refugees and asylum seekers all over the world, are and should be welcomed and not made targets of conscienceless attacks.

 

Wabba said for Africa and South Africa, the pursuit of togetherness, care, warm reception and hospitality to others are some of the enduring attributes and essence of the Ubuntu spirit. According to him, “it is in this light that the NLC condemns the December 2016 unguided and inciting comments of Mr Herman Mashaba, the Mayor of Johannesburg.”

 

“He was widely quoted as blaming foreigners for crimes and asking them to leave the city; we consider the Mayor’s comment as careless, uncharitable and combustive.

 

“Xenophobes find comment such as this as inspiration, especially, as it is coming from high and official quarters. We expect that public officials should know better and act wiser,” Wabba said. He added that African workers and their trade unions would continue to stand for and defend civil liberties of all people, creed and race. He added that the contribution to humanity and the quest to attain social justice had led to the defeat of Apartheid. According to him, “we never see it as a debt that a liberated South Africa should pay back to the rest of us. Rather, it was a duty to us to stand against injustice anywhere, anytime. “Yes, it is clear for us to see and know that the ills and effects of apartheid left not a few people and their communities dehumanised and ravaged. “In essence, the vestiges and hang-over of apartheid must be consciously, systematically and steadfastly dealt with.

 

“We equally note that democracy and governance are not delivering the needed urgent gains to people,” he said.

 

Wabba said endemic poverty remains high among the majority of the people while unemployment among all age groups and gender is growing, with the youth and women more affected. He said xenophobia, thus, had become one of the ways that accumulated and growing frustrations find expression.

 

“We, therefore, call on the South African government to do a thorough interrogation of xenophobia within her borders and take progressive measures to rein it in.

 

“We, also, ask the government to muster effective protection for foreigners. We are of the view that simply labeling people as xenophobes will not serve any useful outcome.”

 

The NLC boss also called on African countries to demonstrate responsive, responsible and accountable stewardship to their people as ways of mitigating the growing frustration and despondency among the people.

 

Meanwhile, Shoprite Nigeria has strongly condemned any kind of xenophobic violence and intimidation against citizens of other countries anywhere in the world.

 

The retailer expressed concern at the acts of violence against foreign nationals in South Africa and the resultant rhetoric of intolerance that is now being levelled against South Africans living in Nigeria.

 

As a company with deep African roots who employs thousands of African nationals and, most importantly, works to bring low prices to 14 countries outside of South Africa, we would like to see an end to xenophobia across the continent,” a statement from Shoprite, yesterday, read.

 

The company appealed to the general public of South Africa and Nigeria to protect the human dignity and safety of people living in both countries.

 

“We remain committed to work with industry and the appropriate consumer groups to engage so that decisive action is taken against those involved in violent crimes and intimidation against foreign nationals as well as to convey our strong position against xenophobia,” the company assured.

 

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