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Amid killing of Nigerians and an angry Senate, South Africa denies Nigeria visa-free status, preferring Ghana, others

Amid killing of Nigerians and an angry Senate, South Africa denies Nigeria visa-free status, preferring Ghana, others

Despite the favourable climate for its businesses in Nigeria, South Africa has again smacked Nigeria in the face, granting visa waivers to citizens of seven countries and leaving out Nigeria.

The latest development continues as Nigeria’s Senate raised the tone of its displeasure at the killing of Nigerians in the former apartheid enclave, where the country claims to have spent and was spent of resources to end apartheid.

As usual, the Senate huffed and puffed, like the Executive Arm, but like always, many fear nothing would come out of 127 Nigerian lives lost in questionable circumstances there.

On Wednesday, the Upper Legislative chamber cautioned the South African government to either stop the killing of Nigerian citizens or face the dire repercussions.

The chamber summoned the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa to explain the circumstances that led to the alleged murder of the Deputy Director-General of Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, in His country.

The Senate asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians going to South Africa in addition to a thorough investigation into the death of the woman.

The followed a point of order raised by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Said Abaribe “Elizabeth Ndubusi-Chukwu, a mother, and an indigene of Anambra State, was found dead in one of the rooms at the Emperors Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, on June 13, 2019, where she lodged.

“She went to South Africa to attend the Conference of the African Insurance Organisation (A10) and initially was suspected to have died of cardiac arrest.

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Muhammadu Buhari

“The Insinuation was proved wrong, following autopsy report released on June 20, 2019, by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which indicated in a Death Certificate that the death was unnatural and suspected to be murder due to strangulation.

“The suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by South Africa’s Department of Health on June 27, 2019, where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.”

He frowned at the allegation that Emperor Palace Hotel and Convention Centre where she lodged, was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding her suspicious death.

The President of the Senate said, “Nigeria as a country is tired of the killings and therefore, we believe that the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria must be better. There must be respect for each other.”

Lawan said he was aware that South Africans in Nigeria were treated well while their thriving businesses enjoy the protection of the Nigerian government and its people calling on the government and people of South Africa to be civil with Nigerians.

He adds: “I agree completely with our colleagues who said that South African businesses in Nigeria flourish more than any other businesses in this country and South Africans are so very well protected in Nigeria.

“There is no need for any South African to take the life of a Nigerian or indeed any other citizens.

“Nigeria was a frontline country or considered to be one even though we are far away in the coast of Africa .

“Therefore, we deserve that respect. the relationship between our two countries must be based on mutual respect and understanding.”

He urged the Nigerian delegation to the Pan African Parliament later this year should raise the matter for deliberation for the attention and resolution by the Pan African legislature at the parliament.”

He said, “l believe that our next set of contingents who will represent us in the parliament which is based in South Africa, will ensure that these issues are brought to the fore.

“We are a responsible country. That is why we will not take the law into our own hands in the way of retaliation, but we shouldn’t be taken for granted.

“Nigeria provides leadership for Africa, but in this leadership position we should be able to tell every African country the truth.

“We have taken this killing, for too long and I think the time has come for us as Parliament to tell the South African Parliament where the South Africans are represented that we have taken enough and we shall not take it anymore… “
I believe that as a country, the executive arm has also protested but as we should support the executive arm of government so that we will be able to stop this mindless, senseless killings of our citizens in those countries.”
 
Meanwhile, Ghana is the latest country to be granted a visa-free status by the South African government.

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has added Ghana to a list of seven countries whose nationals will be permitted to enter South Africa visa-free.

Nigeria was not included despite the large volume of trade between the two countries.

South Africa announced in September 2018, that it was finalising a number of visa waiver agreements with other countries including Ghana to allow travellers to enter the country without a visa.

According to the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, citizens of the seven countries are able to enter South Africa without a visa.

“Tourism will soar if we relax visa requirements for entry into South Africa. We know that Tourism is very important for job creation,” he said today at a briefing in South Africa.

“Out of the 193 countries who are member states of the United Nations, the Department has granted visa-free status to 75 countries. Of these 16 are in our continent and are SADC members and 59 are from all over the world.”

Additional reports by NAN

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