Nigerians, in South Africa has provoked mass protests in several Nigerian cities, where the protesters have issued clear threats to South African firms and business concerns that unless the attacks are stopped, South African investments in Nigeria will suffer similar fates as Nigerian businesses in South Africa. Yesterday’s protests spread from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The growing protest and umbrage among Nigerians over the attacks, perhaps forced the federal government on monday, to summon the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Ambassador Lulu Mguni, to register its displeasure over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans.
The attacks have claimed the lives of six people and saw to the looting of stores and properties belonging to Nigerians and other foreigners.
it was gathered that Mguni was summoned to a closed-door meeting with the Minister of State II for Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, at about 4pm monday.
The spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mr. Ogbole Amedu Ode, confirmed the development in a telephone conversation, but he did not provide more details on the meeting. He however said a press release would be issued over the development.
Meanwhile, Nigerians under the auspices of One Africa Initiative (OAI) have threatened to unleash its anger on South Africa’s investments in Nigeria. Piqued by the killings, the group embarked on a peaceful protest yesterday to some offices owned by South African citizens in Abuja including MTN Nigeria, Shoprite stores, the South African High Commission, as well as the United States of America (USA) Embassy where they ended the protest.
In a statement jointly signed by the convener, Mr. Paul Edeh, Founder/ President Brekete Family, Ordinary Ahmad Isah, PMAN Ambassador and gospel artiste Phil Roberts, Jakins Yusuf, Dorathy Joseph and Favour Johnson, OAI threatened to carry out a retaliatory action against South African companies in Nigeria, if the attacks as well as looting and arson against its citizens persist.
Part of the statement read: “Perhaps some of those perpetuating this crime against humanity have forgotten the role Nigeria played towards their independence. They have forgotten so quickly that South Africans also live in Nigeria and also have huge investments. “Ironically, no Nigerian has attacked MTN, DSTV, Shoprite and many more which are all South African-owned companies since they commenced business in Nigeria.”
The protesters warned the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mguni, to mediate in the ugly development or risk being harassed and embarrassed by Nigerian citizens. “We are one Africa and together we fought slavery and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we fought colonialism and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we fought apartheid in South Africa and we conquered; we are one Africa and together we will fight xenophobic attacks on Africans and together we will conquer,” the group said.
Responding, Mguni commended the protesters for their peaceful conduct and assured them that the commission had listened to the group’s outcry and promised to convey the message to the South African government.
In the same vein, a representative of the US Embassy who preferred anonymity assured Nigerians that the message by the protesters would be delivered to the US Ambassador, John Eintwistle.
Also, the managements of MTN and DSTV unanimously condemned the cowardly acts of violence against fellow Africans by South Africans and advocated equality and freedom for all Africans living in the Mandela country.