Just before the Federal Government started the airlift of Nigerians from South Africa, as a Xenophobic attack on Nigerian in the country, both the Senate Present, Senator Ibrahim Lawan and former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; have called for sterner measures form the Nigerian Government to address the present xenophobic attack on Nigerians living in the country  by South Africans.

In his own remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ibrahim Lawan, in a statement personally signed by him, warned against further xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals, especially Nigerians in South Africa, saying enough is enough of such occurrences.

According to him, “Nigeria has had enough of its citizens being targets of these attacks and will no longer tolerate hate crimes in any form against its citizens who are doing legitimate businesses in that country The statement further reads: “Xenophobic violence is most condemnable anywhere; more so in South Africa, a country whose citizens benefitted from the un-wavered support and solidarity of Africans and freedom lovers across the world in their historic struggle against apartheid.

“More disturbing, however, is that these attacks indicate the neglect of educating the younger generations on the sacrifices that Africans proudly made towards expunging the scourges of colonialism and apartheid from their continent. “The enormous contributions of Nigeria to this historic struggle are underscored by its recognition as a frontline state in the prolonged confrontation against the powerful racist regime that had held generations of Southern Africans in bondage and subhuman conditions.

“This recognition is in spite of the fact that Nigeria does not share geographical borders with the sub-region and was far removed from the direct consequences of apartheid. “The liberation of South Africa was rightly celebrated across the continent and the Black world as the final emancipation of Africans from colonialism and apartheid. “It is therefore, an unacceptable irony that a section of South Africans would so soon, after now, choose other Africans in their country as the targets of mindless violent attacks over frustrations for which the innocent victims have no control”.

The senate president recalled the July 15 meeting he had with the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, in Abuja over the same issue where he warned that “the South African Government must as a matter of urgency do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of Nigerians living there, just as the Nigerian Government remain committed to the safety of South Africans residing here and their investments”. “I believe we have faced enough, we will no longer take it anymore. The South African parliament must act fast to put a stop to this menace”, he further warned.

In his own reaction, former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu condemned the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa, describing it as “un-African, barbaric, and unparalleled acts of ingratitude”.

Ekweremadu, who was the former Speaker of the Parliament of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Parliament, regretted that the Government of South Africa had not wielded the big stick to end the attacks and therefore called on the federal government to consider suspension of diplomatic ties with the Southern African nation until things were put right.

In a statement issued by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, he said: “I find the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other African nationals in South Africa very un-African, barbaric, and unparalleled acts of ingratitude”. “It is quite disturbing that the Government of South Africa has not taken decisive steps to end these attacks, which have led to wanton loss of lives and properties of fellow Africans, especially Nigerians.

“The attacks defy and desecrate everything African brotherhood stands for, especially for a country that gained freedom with the support, sweat, and sacrifice of fellow African nations among which Nigeria clearly stands out. The attacks have reached scary and desperate degrees and call for desperate actions on the part of Nigeria, other African nations, and the African Union.  

“It will therefore not be out of place for the Federal Government to suspend diplomatic relations with SA until full assurance of safety of Nigerians and their properties in South African are secured, adequate compensation paid for the damages, and the perpetrators also brought to book”.

The lawmaker further called on the African Union, AU, to take drastic actions that would call South Africa to order, noting that “the African Union could be reduced to an empty shell if law abiding African nationals cannot find peace and safety in a fellow African nation like South African, but are instead savaged by people who should be their brother’s keeper”.

“The AU should therefore summon an emergency session to sanction South Africa; and a suspend from the Union for unprovoked acts of hostilities against fellow Africans whose countries fought for the freedom they enjoy today will not be out of place”, Ekweremadu added.

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