Xenophobic Attacks and The Role of the Federal Government

September 12, 2019

On Monday September 2nd, news broke out that there had been xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa on Sunday.

Xenophobia literally means dislike or prejudice against people from other countries. Little wonder many South Africans show hostility towards foreigners in their country.

It is interesting to note that Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, which led to several deaths and loss of properties, did not just begin; and one can adjudge that these fresh spate of attacks, were as a result of pent-up grievances on the part of South Africans.

To their argument, Nigerians sell illicit drugs to young adults which has had adverse effects on the society as there is increase in crime. They further argued that the few jobs left for them to survive on, had been taken up by Nigerians. Several graphic images and videos of South Africans wreaking havoc on Nigerians, as well as inciting posts, surfaced online which further led to the pent-up atmosphere.

In a bid to show solidarity, many Nigerians in Nigeria, discontinued patronage and/or relations with South African owned firms in Nigeria, while some celebrities boycotted performances. However, some chose to retaliate by vandalizing few notable South African owned shops, a move that was condemned by the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians.

The President sent a special envoy to South Africa on Thursday of same week to investigate, and that too did not yield a favorable outcome as fresh attacks were carried out on Nigerians days after the official visit.

The Federal Government of Nigeria in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, needs to address this issue as it has resulted in loss of lives and property. It should also take adequate measures in ensuring that affected parties are properly compensated.

The South African government needs to ensure that the lives and properties of foreigners within its territory are protected. It also needs to sensitize its citizens on the negative impact of xenophobia in the country’s economy and its image to the world at large. If they feel aggrieved on certain issues, the right thing would be to report to the appropriate authority rather than take laws into their own hands.

On the part of aggrieved Nigerians, an eye for an eye makes everyone blind. Destroying properties should not be a way of communicating displeasure with xenophobic attacks. There is no justification for the looting and destruction of valuable.

Let us join hands with the government to ensure it never happens again via means of dialogue and campaigns.

God bless Nigeria.