As anti-immigration protests continue in South Africa, Nigerian consulate releases emergency numbers for Nigerians 26 / February 2017
The Nigerian Consulate in South Africa has released ememergency numbers for Nigerian citizens that have been cautght up in the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa. The numbers are: 0027 (0) 731049643 and 0027(0) 632115615 and Nigerians are advised to call them for assistance.
Attacks against foreigners have erupted regularly in recent years, fuelled by South Africa’s high unemployment and poverty levels. Shops and homes owned by foreigners have been looted and torched in recent weeks. The South African protesters allege that the properties were brothels and drug dens. “We are fed up with people bringing drugs to the youth and the crimes that go with it,” said a South African marcher.
Police formed lines to keep apart 500 protesters as as tensions rose between some South Africans and migrants from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Pakistan and elsewhere.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Amb. Bukun-Olu Onemola, Nigeria’s former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations said,“My immediate appeal is that South Africa should do all within its reach to stop the unfortunate incidents as it doesn’t portray a good image of South Africa within and beyond Africa. I see this as distraction between the two countries because this could hinder the two countries from pursuing collaborative endeavours that will promote both socio-economic and political developments in Africa.
“The issue of attacking, deceiving, undermining or blackmailing each other and destroying property will not be beneficial to the citizens of both countries and for Africa. The government should discourage such actions that can put both parties in such sad situations because such acts prevent growth and development. Africa still remains in a very poor state so Nigeria and South Africa should be the arrow heads to lift the continent out of the situation we find ourselves in.
“Both counties have to develop their regions using the abundant natural resources available in both countries and respect each other so that we can trust each other and integrate our regions which will develop Africa. We have to bear in mind that these domestic and internal crises and attacks would affect our reputation and how we are treated by nationals of other countries because the international community would be watching.
“As Nigerians we can’t allow ourselves to be called corrupt and disorderly through our actions and expect to get respect in the international community. We have to develop ourselves and ensure that we abide by laws wherever we find ourselves because if we stick by this, nobody will disrespect us and call us corrupt.
“We can’t keep saying to ourselves that Nigeria is a corrupt country and expect those words not to have a role in how we are viewed and treated by foreign nationals and international bodies. Although, I don’t think that we need any international body to get involved as a third party in settling this matter at this stage and hopefully it won’t come to that.
“I believe this can be resolved between the two parties by the foreign ministers of both countries or even the permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs of both countries. I am sure a good discussion between them would go a long way in solving whatever the underlining problem is. The last attacks were in 2015 and it has happened again two years after so a dialogue and a constant reminder of these actions is needed.
“This doesn’t just apply to Nigeria and South Africa, but between various African countries in order to promote peace, unity and development in Africa.”