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Nigeria tasks AU on halt to xenophobia in South Africa

By Adamu Abuh, Terhemba Daka and Segun Olaniyi, Abuja   |   21 February 2017   |   3:08 am

•N’Assembly condemns attacks on citizens

The Federal Government has called on the African Union (AU) to urgently intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals residing in South Africa.

It also urged the authorities in that country to take decisive ‎measures to protect all nationals within South Africa’s borders.In a statement yesterday in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

Urging restraints on the part of Nigerians, she, however, warned that further attacks might attract dire consequences.Dabiri-Erewa said the attention of the AU was being sought because information had it that another round of xenophobic attacks was in the offing.

The presidential aide had two weeks ago met with South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Aaron-Mnguni on the killing of Nigerians in his home country. But the envoy had also promised that the government was investigating the matter.

Her words: `”We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed. “This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria.”

The Nigerian community in South Africa, led by Ikechukwu Anyene, confirmed the looting of “As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church, have been looted and burned by South Africans,”‎ he said.

Also yesterday, the National Assembly condemned the attacks in totality.The Senate Committee on Diaspora advised the Federal Government to take a decisive stance against South Africa. It spoke against the backdrop of alleged killing of one Tochukwu Nnadi, a 34-year-old businessman, by the police on December 29, 2016.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Rose Oko,‎ petitioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to furnish the panel with the factual account of the incident.

In the same vein, the House of Representatives yesterday flayed the South African authorities for not doing enough in stopping the spate of xenophobic attacks on law-abiding Nigerians over there.

The Rita Orji-led House Committee on Diaspora Matters, during a meeting with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim, lamented the seeming inaction on the part of the authorities at home to firmly protect the interests of Nigerians abroad.

Orji, who frowned on what she termed “conspiracy of silence” by those entrusted with the responsibility to speak up against the maltreatment of Nigerians in foreign land, alleged that no fewer than 1000 houses owned by the citizens were razed in the latest onslaught.




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