Xenophobia and the need for an end to the Culture of mere Investigation by Daniel O. Adedigba
Nigerians, like other foreigners including Malawians, Zimbabweans, Pakistians, Somalias, among others in south-Africa have suffered continuously, being victims of violence ranging from killings, incessant attacks as well as vandalization of properties. An evil trend that has subsisted over time and which had generated little or no attention by Nigerian Government, same which can be likened closely to a tragedy of monumental proportions.
Flowing from the recurring malaise, it seems impossible to stand by any particular statistics of lives lost or property vandalized at this point. Reports however have it that the loss of life from killings over the years numbered 118 Nigerians with millions of properties and fortunes looted and destroyed. Heart – shattering is the report of a Nigerian Car dealer’s shop that was burnt to ashes on Sunday, September 1st 2019 in South Africa.
On the side of South Africans, their justifications for this heinous act had been the feeling of Nigerians occupying their land as claimed by the Deputy Minister of Police of South Africa, Mr Bongani Michael Mkongi. It is further expressed by the aggressive South Africans that Nigerians in South Africa are taking over chunk of employments in their country among the allegation of Nigerian being perpetrators of crime and illegality. These arguments are to them, enough justification to react with killing, looting and vandalization.
In the middle of this misfortune, it is a sad unfolding that the Nigerian Government has chosen the path of perpetual silence and at intervals, given a voice that is not a force usually relating to a deceptive assurance of investigation being most times, investigations without report. The office of the Chairman, Nigerians Diaspora Commission shares no vindication at this as her positions at any of her appearances on National Television remains, “We are Investigating” “A Committee had been set up to look into the killing . . .“ All these are merely designed to constitute a temporary relief of citizens with no particular prospect to end the sad misfortunes.
It is being reported that President Muhammadu Buhari will be visiting South Africa in October, 2019 to discuss recurring attacks. This is nothing but a foot – dragging reaction begging closely the extent of importance Mr President attached to these brutal killings and sheer expression of inhumanity of humans to humans. As the giant of Africa, we should rather be proactive than reactionary and where occasions demand for reactions, we should react as a Giant rather than as a snail.
If truly the constitutional provisions of Section 14 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is to be adhered to strictly placing the security of lives and property as well as welfare of all citizens as the primary purpose of government, it then behooves on the Nigerian Government to wake up to indeed a hasty intervention as a need to correspond with its security responsibilities as well as an assurance of qualitative leadership that is proactive to the concerns of all citizens whether home or in diaspora at heart. There is no better time than now for the Nigerian Government to start using its strong bargaining power diplomatically as it affects relationships with South Arica. South Africa should as a matter of urgency be declared as a hostile setting of residence for Nigerians. Economic cooperation and relationship should be scaled down drastically so to send a strong signal to the economic and business environment which will consequently influence the dealings of other countries in withdrawing their economic and business relationship with South Africa.
Nigerian Government further needs to stand up to the assistance of Nigerians in South Africa by facilitating their return to Nigeria and the Nigerian High Commission has no small duty in this regard. Nigerians in South Africa should be encouraged to come back to Nigeria as their lives and existence matters far beyond whatever engagement they are involved in, in South Africa.
The situation is indeed out of hand already and there is a need to sit up to responsibilities by the Government of Nigeria rather than a continuous engagement in the business of deceit and the venture of momentary reliefs. Our people are dying and our heart is bleeding, our government should not be silent and merely investigate. We need action and we need justice.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Daniel is a graduate of Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University. He writes from Abuja, Nigeria.
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