Lawyer and president emeritus of Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazurike has regretted that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is failing in its duty to protect Nigerians and other African nationals being attacked in South Africa.
Uwazurike who spoke in an interview with Business Hallmark, argued that the South Africans feel emboldened to continue with the attacks because they have not seen strong response from Nigeria, which according to him, should be the big brother nation on the continent.
“If we have a president who is active, this will not happen. As it is now, we have a president who is passive,” Uwazurike said. “And by the time the Minister of Foreign Affairs reports to the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Staff reports to the president and the president decides whether he will act or not, the damage has been done.
“Before the president arrived in South Africa the other time, the damage was already being done. While he was there shaking hands with the South African president, people were being killed
“It doesn’t matter whether it is Nigerians who are dying or getting their properties destroyed, Nigeria is supposed to be the big brother in Africa, the president should act as such,” he said.
Uwazurike pointed out that the Nigeria’s response to the attacks have been halfhearted.
“Why should should the president announce on Tuesday that an envoy will be going to South Africa on Thursday? In other words, they are to continue killing until the envoy comes. What I had expected was instant action,” he said.
“What you need to do is to place a call to the South African president, ‘Cyril Ramaphosa why are you killing my people?’ The man will know you are serious. But if you are now sending an envoy after all these while, what is he going to do?
“Nigeria should also realise that government is not what you wake one day and decide. You need to build up an image. The image of Nigeria before the world is bad. Anybody who is trampling on the rights of Nigerians knows that our president will do nothing. Because if we complain to the world, the question will be, how is the Nigerian government treating Nigerians? Are they respecting the rights of Nigerians?
“So, if they are killing you at home and nothing happens, and they kill you abroad and you make a statement, where does it stand?” he wondered.
Meanwhile, Sunday witnessed fresh wave of xenophobic attacks in the South African nation a mob chanting “foreigners must go” and brandishing dangerous weapons, stabbed two persons earlier in the day.
The President, Nigerian Union in South Africa, Adetola Olubajo, who confirmed the incident said it happened in Johannesburg.
“It’s confirmed that two people were stabbed by MTN Taxi Rank and Jeppe Road in Johannesburg Central Business District and we have informed the Consul General of Nigeria in Johannesburg and the Police in Jeppestown,” he said.
He could, however, confirm the nationalities of the victims or the severity of the injuries, as the Police had yet to reveal the victims’ identities.
“I’m not sure (of their nationalities) as the Police have taken them to hospital. Their identities were not disclosed. The Police are using rubber bullets to disperse them.”
Olubajo further noted that there was a meeting on Sunday morning, which the Police Minister was supposed to address.
He said a popular South African activist, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, had addressed the South Africans, calling for peace, but some of the protesters got angry and left.
“Now, they are chanting ‘Foreigners must go,’ with some dangerous weapons in their hands. They have moved from Jeppestown to Braamfontein, even to the CBD Taxi Rank in town.
“Though we have been monitoring the incident for the past three hours now, Police have not been able to disperse them. Our fear is that they may start looting again in the night.
“We have sent an alert to Nigerians immediately. We used our various social media platforms to do that.
“We sent it to our structures and the entirety of Nigerians. Most Nigerians are aware of this by now because there are photos and videos, and it is also televised by SABC.”
Olubayo said that a lot of Nigerians live in the affected area, though some had relocated because last Sunday’s looting and vandalism of Nigerian businesses by South Africans occurred in the same area.
“Quite a number of our people live around Jeppestown and Fountain. We are talking about Johannesburg, which is very big’ but Jeppestown is close to the eastern part of Johannesburg where those hostile attacks took place.
“Jules Street is closer to them; it’s a major road they would take to the CBD. MTN Taxi Rank is the major bus stop there. They havevirtually captured that taxi rank and Braamfontein.”