NIGERIANS living in South Africa have been called upon to reconsider their status in that country and return home, in the face of continued outrageous xenophobia and killings by their host country.
The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Danielson Akpan made the call Wednesday at a joint news conference with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa described the killings as unacceptable, expressed the hope that the African Union (AU) would intervene in the matter, as Nigeria continues to seek diplomatic channels to end all levels and xenophobia and the outrageous killings.
Akpan, who said that the xenophobia and killings have assumed an alarming dimension that has called for extreme caution noted: “We do not believe in xenophobia. If we want to talk about it, Nigerians should be the ones pushing it because there are no multinational companies in South Africa controlled by a Nigerian.
“In Nigeria, we have Multichoice, MTN, organisations that should be controlled by Nigerians, but the daily profit accruing is repatriated to South Africa.
“Yet we are not killing anybody here because we feel that there should be room for competition.”
According to him, the message of Nigerian students across the globe is that South Africans must go and Nigerians in South Africa should return home.
He said Nigerian students had in the past two weeks been picketing in a peaceful way in major cities in the country to send a message to the international community about the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
The picketing, he said, was carried out with the hope that the South African government and her citizens would end all forms of attack on Nigerians and
if the security of lives and property of Nigerians living in South Africa could not be guaranteed, “there is no need to condone the continuous flourishing of South African businesses in Nigeria.”
In a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dabiri-Erewa, said that closing down of businesses of South Africans in Nigeria was not the solution as what was important was stopping the killing of Nigerians.
She said: “Eight South Africans are currently facing trial in court for the killing of Nigerians in South Africa. Our Consul General in South Africa is also on top of the situation.”
While she seeks the deployment of other diplomatic channels to address the situation, she said that the next Foreign Affairs Minister would meet with his counterpart in South Africa to review the Early Warning Signal agreement entered into sometime ago.
The former member of the House of Representatives said the presidents of Nigeria and South Africa would meet later in the year to discuss issues of mutual benefit and expressed the hope that the African Union (AU) would intervene in the matter.
She appealed to NANS to avoid letting the situation get to the level of reprisal killing or shutting down South African businesses in Nigeria.
A don and teacher of Diaspora and Peace Studies at the National Open University, Abuja, Prof. Ibikunle Tijani, said that the new generation of South Africans lacked knowledge of history in relation to the role Nigeria played in the fight against apartheid.
He observed that to present generation of South African youths were concerned and motivated only post-apartheid developments.
Tayo Faniran, Big Brother Africa Star who was a victim of brutality by the South African police men, appealed to NANS not to do anything capable of turning Africa into a jungle.
He pleaded: “A better Africa is when we can live together in peace as one family,” and “not when we severe relations and destroy things.”