Tension mounts as Nigerians, others plan self defence in South Africa
By Joshua Mathews, South Africa.
There are fears of more violence against Nigerians and other blacks and minorities in South Africa. But that is just one side of a dangerous coin.
Some Nigerians and other blacks are arming themselves to fight back if the South Africans attempt any violence against them.
This is coming as Nigeria’s reputable newspaper, The Guardian, rolled out a list of prominent South African businesses making good money in Nigeria.
Many in Nigeria describe at least two of the companies, MTN and Multi-Choice (DSTV) in “shylock” terms. Every attempt by government regulatory agencies to bring some of the South African companies to book always hits a brick wall, because of what a source described as “a maze of corrupting and corruptive tendencies like keeping off the capital market, but yet sending requests for private placement of shares to prominent Nigerians and opinion shapers. They buy in and are bought over; they sell our birth-right for smelly pots of porridge. I think EFCC should look into the ownership structures and how it came about. Nigerians will be shocked and disgusted.”
In Nigeria, there is an under-the-surface anger which analysts fear may explode in future.
In South Africa, it was learnt, many Nigerians in South Africa are living in fear of the unknown, especially after South African groups reported they were going to protest job losses and the evil influence of drug business by Nigerians.
“They have a drug problem which is a result of their past struggle against the Whites, but today they blame Nigerians simply because the locals got run out of a business they were involved in for decades. What you see sometimes are turf wars by criminal gangs, a source said.
The fear heightened in the last few days when it emerged that some Nigerians are in “collabo with other black Africans to resist and fight back.” They can no longer trust the local police that looks on even when they are around, it was gathered.
What is said to be most painful is the criminality of those who use the xenophobic attacks to deal economic blows to Nigerians and other black Africans, because of the sheer magnitude of the looting that deprive them of their money, property, and wares.
Local Nigerian leaders are already advising Nigerians to be cautious in their movement in some neighbourhoods.
Some black South Africans are not happy with the incessant xenophobic attacks on fellow black Africans, and do speak up, but the government is “either collusive, weak, or simply allow these tranferred aggression on others rather than it,” another source said.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora had hit at the South African government for being unable to stop xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other blacks.
But there are indications that some “interests are putting pressure” to tapered down comments of government officials,” everyday.ng learnt.
Dabiri-Erewa had this week advised Nigerians to be extra cautious as it looks like South African government seems to have no control over these attacks.
She called on the authorities in that country to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans, hinting at a possible backlash from the Federal Government.
She also called on the African Union to intervene urgently in the renewed xenophobic attacks.
She urged restraint on the part of Nigerians and warned that further attacks without any reprimand may have dire consequences.
It will be recalled that Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa had two weeks ago met with South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mr Lulu Aaron-Mnguni on the killing of Nigerians in South Africa.
Mr Aaron-Mnguni then promised that the South African government was investigating the matter.
`We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed. This is unacceptable to the people and Government of Nigeria,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Our correspondent reported at the weekend that almost all of those attacked live among the blacks who see them as threats to jobs and black-market activities like drugs and prostitution.
Said a Nigerian: “We are safe in… because its not a _black_ region. The unsafe places right now are black communities like where we go to buy cheap food.
“It is a function of the historic xenophobia thing. The black South African see other blacks as part of their problem.
“They are already intimidated. Our fellow country men are accused of selling drugs to them, using them to market the drugs, make babies through their women so as to apply for permanent residence, befriend the women in locations so as to have a place to stay……”
To curb the attacks, analysts suggested the need to stop or reduce the number of asylum seekers to South Africa
“Secondly, all illegitimate Nigerians should be repatriated back to Nigeria,” a Nigerian who does not want to be named stated.
“By illegitimate Nigerians, I mean Nigerians who are illegally living in SA.”
Also, he added. South Africans need to “wise up” to their moral values.
“SA is a place where sex is at its cheapest value. That’s what some Nigerians are taking advantage of. Some Nigerians take advantage of their gullible ladies are available to offer sex for food, upkeep and so on. So if a guy can afford to feed them, they will be willing to live with the guy. Thus, the guys then seek for permanent residence on the claim of marriage to a South African lady.” he concluded.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Nigerian Community in South Africa confirmed attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West on Saturday.
Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, President, Nigeria Union, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, that the attacks began at 4.00 a.m.
He said that the union had reported the incident to the Nigeria mission and South African police.
“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans.
“One of the buildings is a mechanic garage with 28 cars under repairs, with other vital documents, were burned during the attack.
“Also, the pastor of the church was wounded and is in the hospital receiving treatment,” he said.
Anyene said the union had informed Nigerians in South Africa to be vigilant in the face of renewed xenophobic attacks.
According to him, the union received information that there will be xenophobic attacks against foreigners on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.
“We began taking precautionary measures when the incident took place today.
“The attack in Pretoria West is purely xenophobic and criminal because they loot the shops and homes before burning them,” he said.
Anyene called on the Federal Government to persuade its South African counterpart to protect Nigerians in their country.
“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” he said.