Hon. Henry Nwawuba and Colleagues Visit South Africa On Xenophobic Attacks Against Nigerians

By Ismaila Azubuike chikanele

Hon. Henry Nwawuba House of Representatives member from Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal constituencysaid his committee that travelled to South Africa for the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians held constructive engagements with various stakeholders that is geared towards addressing the problems of Nigeria living in South Africa.

The Mbaitoli/Ikeduru born Lawmaker who was among the six-member committee of the House of Representatives led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the House leader, opined that the House of Representatives after deliberation on the reports of several attacks by the South African National since 2008 against Nigerians and their business interest in South Africa it become obvious that the House will not be living the problem only in the hands of Executive arm of the Federal Government since one of the major priority of any government is security of her citizens not only in the country but also outside the country.

On this note the committee was set up immediately and travelled to South Africa to use any available legislative diplomacy to protect Nigeria citizens living in South Africa at the same time interface with critical stakeholders to find a lasting solution to unwarranted attacks by South Africans.

He hinted that the committee hold different meetings with Nigeria Union in South Africa, Nigeria High Commission in South Africa, South Africa Parliament and other leaders of South Africa and Nigeria, including the Union of South Africa women married by Nigeria men.

In the meeting with Nigerians in South Africa Hon. Nwawuba said they discovered that about 800,000 Nigerians are living in South Africa and more than about 70% - 80 % of them are of Ibos extraction.

He stressed that the attacks were not only targeted to Nigerians but many Africans living in South Africa are all affected, which was attributed as this new lexicon called “Afrophobia” i.e. hatred to fellow Africa person.

The lawmaker described the attacks as purely socio-economic violence where many citizens mainly the youthful population did not have jobs and are finding it difficult to earn a living, but it become very unfortunate that instead of looking towards their government to solve their problem theytransfer their aggression to foreign nationals in their country believing that the foreigners are the ones that took their jobs, so the organized themselves in large numbers to loots, commit arson and other violent crimes.

He said most of the foreigners are not depending on government but they are mostly traders, artisans who on their own are self-reliant and put extra- effort to run their businesses in other to survive in foreignland.

Hon. Nwewuba said to his chagrin no citizen of South African has being taking to court and punish according to law to serve as a deterrent to others since these attacks years ago.

He added that some South African police is not helping matter to control the various hate attacks, he said many Nigerian stated that even at the presence of South African police foreigners are attacked and no arrest will be carried out. That even Nigerians that reported and informed the policeabout the people that attacked them and participated in the attacks usually end up being attacked as a result of lack confidence form the police to protect such people that reported to them.

The lawmaker advice Nigeria living in South Africa that since theknow that they are in hostile environmenttheyshould adopt other means of protecting themselves and their properties such as investing their property in trust fund.

That is instead of using their names to buy the property which can easily be identified in crisissituation the use the namethe trust fund to get the property.

At the same time the should identify the early warning signal that can led to xenophobic or violent attacks and take proper precaution.

On the outcome of their meeting with the South African parliament he said both country agreed to work on bills to domesticate hate crime and ensure sanction on hate crimes. He stated that South African parliamentarians did not believe their citizens are xenophobic as being portrayed but because the media has not being fair to them that even crime like extortion and other social vices are always reported as xenophobic attacks.

Hon. Henry Nwawuba stated that it will be of mutual interest for Nigeria and South Africa to work together, that the citizens of both countries will continue to benefit immenselywhenthere is mutual cooperation, peace and respect.

He said South Africa has many major multi-national businesses operating peacefully in Nigeria that are progressing and the South African Government and people are benefitinga lot from their dividend which cannot even be compare with outlets some Nigerian citizens are managing in South Africa on their own.

That since is the responsibility of Nigeria government to protect this multi-nation businesses owned by South Africans in Nigeria, it is equally the responsibility of South Africans and their government to protect business of other foreigners in their land especially other African brothers and their businesses.

He further emphasized that South Africa government has the responsibility to re-orientate their citizens on the role Nigeria played during the long apartheid era. Which the average South Africa is not very much aware of.

He debunked the speculation that an indigene of Orodoin Mbaitoli L.G.A was killed and said that it is untrue because he personally investigated that report when they travelled to South Africa and to the of bestof his knowledge nothing like that happen.

He advised Nigerians living in South Africa to always be law-abiding and avoid any incident that will make them go-culpable to the law of the land and always be security conscious at all time.