Following the anti immigrant (xenophobic) protest in Pretoria, South Africa, earlier this week, members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) launched a counter protest against South Africans yesterday in Abuja. The protest was aimed that sending down a strong warning to both the Nigerian and South African government over the looming xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
In reaction, the protesters took to the offices of South African owned companies (MTN, Multichioce) and also the South High Commission office in the capital to express their dissatisfaction. The protesters also burnt the South African national flag at the Commission to register their message.
The message is clear. Since South africa remains hostile to compatriots, they want all South African and South African business out of the country within 48 hrs. These reprisal attacks underscore the need for the governments of Nigeria and South Africa to move fast to douse the increasing hostilities between citizens of both countries before a further worsen crisis that could strain diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The student-Protesters took off from the Unity Fountain to the MTN office in Maitama and then to Multichoice office in Central Area to protest against the attacks on Nigerian nationals in South Africa. Also urging the High Commission officials to cancel a dinner which is slated to hold later today in honour of Regina Tambo, the co-founder of ANC Youth League. Led by the President, he insists that South Africans cant continue to be celebrate hear while they kill Nigerians over there.
The protesters finally touched down at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the aggrieved youths demanded the Federal Government of Nigeria to take strict and concrete action in the their policies to protect lives and property of Nigerians in South Africa.
While addressing newsmen, The President of the association said: “We are demanding that they should break the ties between both countries if there are any because the xenophobic attacks that happened a long time ago have come again. We have decided to clear the madness with madness.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its response, expressed concerns about the attacks of foreigners, including Nigerians, in South Africa which often results into arson, looting, and displacement of families.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijat Abba-Ibrahim also addressed newsmen at the ministry yesterday. She urged South Africa to bring the perpetrators of the violence to justice. On the reports regarding the violence making rounds in the media, she claimed the ministry has not received reports of any nigerian casualty in the latest attacks against foreigners.
“The Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria is in constant touch
with the Nigerian union in South Africa, the Department of
International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa…
“All these agencies have confirmed that no Nigerian life was lost
in the recent incident.”
The minister urged Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm, law- abiding and vigilant as she pledged that the ministry would continue to monitor developments all over South Africa.