As the xenophobic attacks on Africans in South Africa continue unabated, the House of Representatives has called on the federal government and President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of urgency, recall Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the country, warning that Nigeria will no longer tolerate the killing of its citizens.
The resolution followed a motion of urgent matter of public importance moved at plenary yesterday by the chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora Matters, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on the xenophobic attacks on Africans in South Africa.
The House noted sadly that the recent attacks which have left many dead, businesses and shops vandalised and many beaten up, was incited by a statement alledgedly made by the South African Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, who was said to have ordered African migrants to return to their countries as they are no longer welcome in South Africa.
“Nigeria frowns at the attacks and will no longer tolerate the killing of its nationals in South Africa. President Goodluck Jonathan must immediately convey this to President Zuma as a matter of urgency”.
The federal government insisted yesterday that Nigerians residing in South Africa are safe, the increasing incidence of xenophobic attacks in that country notwithstanding.
The xenophobic violence being triggered by South Africans who feel foreigners were taking jobs that belong to them had compelled several countries, including Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi to arrange for the repatriation of their citizens.
Thousands of people are said to be marching in Durban to protest against the violence.
But according to foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Aminu Wali, the federal government is in close touch with the South African authorities regarding the safety of its citizens.
Addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday, Wali said, “With the discussions I have been having with Nigeria’s head of mission in Pretoria, no Nigerian has so far been affected”.
“They informed me that they have called the Nigerian community and addressed them and told them to close their shops, stay home and keep out of trouble and obey the laws of South Africa. They have also confirmed that the South African authorities have moved in to take actions that would forestall any further disturbance in South Africa”.
“If it gets worse, it is the duty of our country to make sure our people are brought back, and we are taking that duty serious. We are not prepared to allow any of our nationals to be subjected to such inhuman treatment.
“We are not being reactionary because this is happening to all foreigners, not Nigerians alone. We are monitoring the situation and will take action according to the situation that develops”.