By Henry Ojelu
Not many would have imagined that a time will come when Nigerians living in South Africa will be shamefully repatriated home.Xenophobic Attacks:Nigerians protesting against xenophobic attacks in South Africa at the South African High Commission, in Abuja, yesterday. Photos: Gbemiga Olamikan.
This is solely because during the apartheid regime, Nigerian government spent billions to ensure that South Africa was extricated from the grip of slavery and oppression. That sacrifice appears to have been a wasted gesture with the continued mindless killing of Nigerians living in South Africa.
Last week’s renewed attacks and the ongoing repatriation of scores from the country is a clear indication that Nigerians are endangered species in South Africa. Although the Nigerian government has taken some diplomatic measures to stop the killings, many believe there is need for more strick counter actions against the South African government. Here are some of the reactions.
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Layi Babatunde, SAN
Publisher Supreme Court Report
We must put our house in order
“Our South African brothers and sisters failed to deal with us fairly inspite of our acknowledged sacrifices for their freedom. if the pictures in circulation were anything to go by , south african women and even children sadly partook in the looting and savagery that took place . Having said that, in addition to whatever diplomatic or legal steps that Nigeria may want to take to remedy the situation, it is important that we as a people put our house in order .
“If our economy is strong , rule of law prevails and lives matter and we are safe in and out of our homes , our people will not be treated as scum all over the world. That should be the priority of Government , otherwise we will remain trapped in a vicious and painfully demeaning cycle , home and abroad.”
Lawal Pedro, SAN
Former Lagos State Solicitor-General
FG should pursue policies that will encourage citizens to stay at home
“I am in total agreement with the decision and directives of the federal government that any Nigerian who wish to leave South Africa and relocate back to Nigeria will be encouraged and assisted.
For any Nigerian in South Africa with valid papers to resides therein, If he feels unwanted, he has a few choices to make: stay and continue to feel unwanted, or leave the country. The choice is up to him/her and cannot be compelled by any government.
The Fed Govt should however takes concrete actions that will make more enterprising Nigerians stay at home to develop the country instead of seeking greener pasture abroad.”
Wahab Shittu— Senior Law Lecturer, University of Lagos
Nigeria should petition ICC
“Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa is savagery, brutish, callous and inhuman atrocity of the worst order. Nigeria as a country has reacted appropriately by recalling Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa and withdrawing from the ongoing economic forum currently taking place in South Africa. These steps are consistent with the mood of the country and Nigerians who are justifiably aghast and angry at the unfortunate developments. The ruling elite has to do more.
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“Firstly we need to address a World press conference to register our displeasure at the savagery. We need to formally lodge a criminal complaint at the International criminal court of justice and demand justice and compensation for the victims. The South African authorities must be made to apologise ,assure of the safety of Nigerians and undertake to pay compensation and prosecute those involved in these serial atrocities.
‘We need to sensitize the African Union,the Commonwealth ,United Nations and the international community on the atrocities going on in South Africa and the urgency of sanctions against South Africa. Nigeria must examine all options to get justice for Nigeria and Nigerians for this Savagery and man’s inhumanity to man.”
Gbenga Ojo- Senior Law Lecturer, Lagos State University
Subtle Diplomacy needed
“What is needed is subtle diplomacy. We can retain diplomatic relationship with South Africa but take census of all South Africans in Nigeria and expel all of them particularly those with expired papers immediately. Call on South African government to send plane(s) to take them home and if they refuse, put them in a camp until their government do the needful.
“The officials in charge of information must make official statements to that effect. This will sign as signals to other African leaders that Nigeria will respond, if similar events happen in their countries. That Nigeria will not condone such actions. This is at least interim measure for a start.”
Kabiru Akingbolu—Member, Ekiti State Judicial Service Commission
Response should be devoid of diplomatic finese
“Nigerian government should rise up to the occasion with immediate effect with a view to identifying as a matter of topmost priority the remote and immediate causes of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa. The approach should be solid and firm, devoid of any diplomatic royale or finese, so as to achieve a worthwhile solution.
“For goodness sake, if any country will do that, definitely, not South Africa for whom Nigeria fought endlessly to rescue them from the gripping hold of the mischievous minority white. The attack is too grave and monstrous that no reasonable government can fold its arms and watch. Our government should engage the government of South Africa in line with international treaties laws to demand for Justice and freedom of movement for Nigerian citizens.”
Great Imo Jonathan
A lot of tact needed
“Well, once it is considered diplomatic, it then means a lot of tact is required. The good thing is that a Special Envoy has been sent and high level interaction established. Going forward, the Federal Government Of Nigeria needs to get the commitment of South African authorities to stem the tide of violence against Nigerians in their country with strong conditions attached, such that the thought of consequences in their failure to act as expected can motivated compliance.
“ Hence, we need to find some consequential facts that will be strong enough to apply as a caveat in respect of demands to be made. Because without fear of consequence people are bound to act in defiance.”