Thursday, 20 February, 2020

Anti-Immigrant Attacks Spur Security Crackdown in South Africa

Anti-Immigrant Attacks Spur Security Crackdown in South Africa Anti-Immigrant Attacks Spur Security Crackdown in South Africa
Deanna Wagner | 11 September, 2019, 17:22

In the wake of the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other nationals in South Africa, the federal government has revealed that 640 Nigerians have registered to come back home from the rainbow nation.

The Consul General, after spending a couple of days liaising with the South African government, returned to Nigeria this past weekend. "Afrophobia compromises everything that the recently brokered intra-African trade - Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement - represents and aspires to deliver", the communique added while faulting the attacks.

Although the South African government did not address the attacks as xenophobic, choosing to refer to them as criminality, most African countries view them as xenophobia.

Nigerian president Mahummadu Buhari is scheduled to visit South Africa on a state visit in October, and the attacks against Nigerian nationals and businesses in South Africa are expected to be on the agenda.

The Nigerian Mission in South Africa said its citizens had indicated that they wanted to leave the country and they have been given the necessary documents in readiness for their departure.

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa "agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing", according to a statement from the Nigerian government.

Late last week, a confrontation between a local taxi (matatu) driver and an alleged Nigerian drug dealer, in which the South African died of gunshot wounds, escalated into running street battles in Pretoria. "They have affected us in other countries in which we operate".

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"So we will continue to work on that and we assure Nigerians wherever they are that this government will come to their aid".

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Kabiru Bala, also reported: "We are documenting them. The commission ought to make it clear to the South African authorities that the victims of the heinous crimes have a right to an effective remedy and reparation, which includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition". A significant percentage of medical personnel in rural hospitals are Nigerians.

These violent lootings and killings have deeply incited Nigerians to retaliate against South African businesses in Nigeria.

Madagsacar were due to travel to Johannesburg for a hastily-arranged match on Saturday (September 7) but withdrew amid the violence in South Africa, which has been aimed at foreigners.

The communique added, "Ezekwesili promised her expertise in personally working with the NCWC to ensure that their goal to help achieve the formalising platform".

South Africa has temporarily closed its embassies in Nigeria in response to the reprisal attacks.