Xenophobic attacks: …

Xenophobic attacks: Nigeria must act now to counter S-Africa
By Francis Moneke The recent resurgence in South Africa of wanton aggression against Nigerians and some other foreign nationals resident in that country, has incurred the infuriation of Nigerian people and government, who are united in the expression of unequivocal condemnation of what has now become a recurring and rampant practice of mindlessxenophobic violence perpetrated by South African citizens, and more so the apparent lack of commitment on the part of South African government to prevent such attacks and redress the situation by bringing the perpetrators to justice and making reparations to the victims. This reign of impunity in South Africa attracted reciprocal violent recourse by some disgruntled Nigerians against South African economic interests in Nigeria, which were however quickly contained by proactive law enforcement agents. More appositely and strategically, the Federal government has swiftly taken steps to respond to the situation in a manner that is in tandem with the legal regime on international relations. Now, xenophobia is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange, engendering violence as a defence mechanism against such fear or a catharsis of an overflowing hatred. It seems that the perpetrators of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa among other indignations blame Nigerians and other foreigners in their country for taking over their jobs, which according to them is the reason for their hardship and poverty.More appalling were the attempts by some top officials of South African government to justify the attacks by claiming that most Nigerians in their country indulge in criminal activities. These are pathetic excuses, which cannot justify extrajudicial attack against legal foreigners in their host country. If some foreigners in South Africa engage in criminal activities, it is incumbent on the law enforcement agency of that country to find and bring such persons to justice, and not allow the citizens to resort to jungle justice against such perceived alien criminals. On the other hand, South Africans cannot blame hard working foreigners for their suffering, they should rather blame their government, because such foreigners mostly engage in personal businesses, which they have labored so hard to build and grow. If anything such businesses built by foreign nationals, especially Nigerians, add substantial value to South African economy – they employ South Africans, pay taxes to the government and generally bring more development to the country.

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